Getting aggressive calls from powerful people, under pressure to give jabs: Serum CEO Adar Poonawalla
Serum Institute CEO Adar Poonawalla has alleged coming under immense pressure over supply of the Covishield vaccine.
Serum Institute of India (SII) CEO Adar Poonawalla said on Saturday that he was under immense pressure to deliver Covid vaccines fast and even faced threatening calls from powerful people as the second wave of the pandemic rages through the country, indicating that his company would start producing doses outside the country as well.
In an interview to The Times, UK, Poonawalla confessed getting phone calls from the 'most powerful,' including chief ministers, business tycoons and others, demanding instant supplies of Covishield.
Referring to the phone calls, Poonawalla said "Threats is an understatement. The level of expectation and aggression is really unprecedented. It's overwhelming. Everyone feels they should get the vaccine. They can't understand why anyone else should get it before them," Poonawalla said in the interview.
The pressure was what led him to fly to London to be with his wife and children, Poonawalla, 40, told the British newspaper.
“I’m staying here (in London) for an extended time because I don’t want to go back to that situation. Everything falls on my shoulders but I can’t do it alone... I don’t want to be in a situation where you are just trying to do your job, and just because you can’t supply the needs of X, Y or Z you really don’t want to guess what they are going to do,” he was quoted as saying by The Times.
The businessman was provided “Y” category security by the government earlier this week in view of the threat perception to him. “Y” category security entails a posse of at least four armed commandos to guard the protected person all the time.
The businessman indicated in the interview that his move to London is also linked to business plans to expand vaccine manufacturing to countries outside India, which may include the likes of the UK.
"There's going to be an announcement in the next few days," he said, when asked about Britain as one of the production bases outside India.
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