The Oxford University's Covishield vaccine for coronavirus has drawn an immune response even in the elderly, who are among the groups vulnerable to the disease, Adar Poonawala, the chief of Serum Institute of India, which is partnering the UK-based premier university, told NDTV today. The vaccine, he said, is "very safe". "Thousands of people have had it in India and abroad so we are cracking on track with no safety concerns," he added.
"It does give an immune response which is good news. You know we were always fearful that whether it will protect the elderly as well, that was our concern. So, you know it will give a slightly different response but it seems at the moment we're going to get a response both in the young and healthy, and the elderly," Mr Poonawala told NDTV.
While underscoring the safety of the vaccine, Mr Poonawalla however, said it would take time, nearly around two years, to come to a conclusion about its efficacy.
"It's only after a year or two that we see vaccinated patients or people whatever, be protected when they are exposed to the virus that we will know the vaccine has given you that long term immunity," he told NDTV.
"So we will have to wait for a year or two to know that beyond reasonable doubt. But the indicators are all positive, the science is all positive to indicate that you will have that long term immune response," he added.
The Covishield vaccine, which is expected to reach the market by the second or third quarter of 2021, will require a booster dose after 28 days, Mr Poonawalla told NDTV.
Regarding the affordability of the vaccine, he said, "We cannot comment on the cost yet since we are in talks with the government. But I would say it would be in the range of a couple of hundred rupees with the rest being absorbed by the government".