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Adar Poonawalla buckles under pressure, tells British newspaper of threatening phone calls

Adar Poonawalla buckles under pressure, tells British newspaper of threatening phone calls
In an interview with The Times of London, SII chief Adar Poonawalla has opened up about the menacing calls from some of the most powerful men in India.

COVID19

Adar Poonawalla buckles under pressure, tells British newspaper of threatening phone calls

As India tries to battle the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic, the Serum Institute of India (SII) which is the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer and its chief Adar Poonawalla has come under increasingly intense pressure and criticism.




In an interview with The Times of London, SII chief Adar Poonawalla has opened up about the menacing calls from some of the most powerful men in India, creating an environment so ugly that he left the country. “Threats’ is an understatement,” Poonawalla said. “The level of expectation and aggression is really unprecedented.”

Just a week ago, he was provided with a “Y” category security (a posse of about 4-5 armed commandos) by the Indian government. It said armed commandos of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) will be with him every time he travels to any part of the country.

“I am 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 and Z you really don’t want to guess what they are going to do,” he told the British newspaper. “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.”

The 40-year-old billionaire indicated that his move to London is also linked to business plans to expand vaccine manufacturing to countries outside India, which may include the like of the UK. However, this plan didn’t go well with the counterparts in India and Poonawalla took to Twitter to say that he would be returning to India to review Covishield’s production in Pune in a few days.


Also Read: India’s next “big challenge” could be shortage of doctors and nurses: Dr Devi Shetty


In regards to Oxford/AstraZeneca, he said by the time the vaccine was approved in January this year, the Serum Institute of India had increased its annual production capacity from 1.5 to 2.5 billion doses at a cost of $800 million, and stockpiled 50 million doses of Covishield. The company began exporting to 68 countries, including Britain, as India seemed to have been over the worse, until the situation worsened in recent weeks. “We are really grasping for all the help we can get,” Poonawalla told the newspaper. “I don’t think even God could have forecast it was going to get this bad.”


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  1. Pingback: 24% increase in India Inc’s foreign borrowings to $9.23 bn in March | The Plunge Daily

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