India’s vaccine shortage will probably last for months after the government failed to properly plan for the second wave of coronavirus infections, the head of the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer said.
Adar Poonawalla, chief executive of India’s Serum Institute, made the remarks in an interview Sunday with the Financial Times. He said he has been “unfairly” victimized as India’s covid-19 outbreak surged and vaccinations sputtered, due in part to a domestic shortage of vaccines.
Poonawalla, who has been in the UK on an extended stay to evade alleged threats in India over the ever-increasing demand for COVID-19 vaccines, has said he will return in a few days.
In a recent interview to “The Times”, Poonawalla alleged that he had been receiving threats in India and that he and his family left the country for London after unprecedented “pressure and aggression” over India’s vaccine demand.
Meanwhile, a group of scientific advisers to India’s government also said they warned officials in early March that a more transmissible variant was spreading in the nation of some 1.3 billion people, Reuters reported. Authorities, however, refrained from taking more drastic measures to prevent a surge.
Poonawalla should lodge police complaint
Meanwhile, a Maharashtra minister on Monday said Serum Institute of India’s CEO Adar Poonawalla should lodge a police complaint in connection with the alleged threats that he has received. He also assured the state government will conduct an in-depth probe into it.
“Poonawalla should lodge a complaint giving details of the threat and the phone number from where he got the call. We will conduct an in-depth probe into it,” Minister of State Home Shamburaje Desai told reporters.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra Congress president Nana Patole urged Poonawalla to return to India and assured him that his party will take responsibility for his security.
“People’s lives are important and vaccine production should take place in India only. The Centre has already given him ”Y” category security. More (security) would be given if necessary,” he said.
The Congress will also take the responsibility of protecting him, said Patole, whose party shares power in Maharashtra with the Shiv Sena and NCP.