Natasha Poonawalla, Serum Institute of India's Executive Director, was today vaccinated against COVID-19. She received the first shot of Covishield which is manufactured by her company and developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University.
"Proud to take the jab. Only after thorough rounds of local and international clinical trials, #Covishield vaccines were deemed safe and effective," said Ms Poonawalla, who is the wife of Adar Poonawalla, Serum Institute's owner and CEO, in an Instagram post.
India on Monday began the second phase of the vaccination drive against coronavirus, a gigantic exercise that aims to vaccinate 300 million people by July. Covishield and Bharat Biotech's Covaxin are the two vaccines currently being administered in the country. The second phase aims to vaccinate those over 60 years of age and for people aged 45 with illnesses.
In her social media post, Ms Poonawalla said the combined efforts of Seth Berkley, chief executive of the GAVI vaccine alliance, WHO, UNICEF, Gates Foundation and Bill Gates ensured that the first batch of Covishield vaccines were delivered to the global COVAX programme by the Pune-based Serum Institute.
Serum Institute, the world's biggest vaccine maker, is producing hundreds of millions of doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine. Many countries around the world, particularly poorer nations, are relying heavily on the company for supplies of the vaccine, and it has already shipped millions of doses abroad.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the first beneficiary in the second phase, as he took a dose of Covaxin, at Delhi's All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) early Monday morning.
"Great to see Shri @narendramodi Ji leading from the front and getting vaccinated. In the interest of protecting our nation, I would urge the public to get vaccinated at the earliest, whether it be @SerumInstIndia's vaccines or any of the other vaccines being developed in India," Adar Poonawalla had tweeted yesterday.
As of 9:30am today, there have been 39 lakh registrations on the Co-Win portal for vaccine registration Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan said after he took the first shot of Covaxin.