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Now, Bharat Biotech, SII pledge for smooth rollout of COVID-19 vaccines


NEW DELHI:  After their much-publicised spat, Krishna Ella and Adar Poonawalla, head Bharat Biotech and Serum Institute of India respectively, issued a joint statement on Tuesday pledging their commitments towards a smooth rollout of Covid-19 vaccines in the country and the world.

In a joint statement, the two companies noted that the most important task in front of them was saving lives and livelihoods in India and globally. “We are fully aware of the importance of vaccines for the people and countries alike, we hereby communicate our joint pledge to provide global access for our vaccines,” it said.

Sources said the statement came following a nudge from the top functionaries in the Union government. Covaxin by Bharat Biotech and Covishield by SII, which has made the vaccine after technology transfer by Oxford University-AstraZeneca, have been granted restricted emergency use by the Central Drugs Standards Control Organisation. 

Poonawalla had said apart from his vaccine, vaccines by only Pfizer and Moderna had shown efficacy while other vaccines including Covaxin were only “safe, like water.” At a conference on Monday, Ella, without naming Poonawalla, said his company had carried out a 200% honest trial in the national interest, without any financial aid, and did not deserve the backlash.

“Now that two Covid-19 vaccines have been issued EUA in India, the focus is on manufacturing, supply and distribution, such that populations that need it the most receive high quality, safe and efficacious vaccines,” the statement said.

It added: “Both companies respect the great work being carried out by each other and put behind us the miscommunication and misunderstanding caused during the past week.” On Tuesday, Poonawalla tweeted that there would be a statement clearing up the miscommunication.