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BJP MLA slams Serum Institute of India over anti-COVID vaccine pricing, calls its CEO Adar Poonawalla 'dacoit'

Gorakhpur MLA Radha Mohan Das Agrawal made the remarks after SII on Wednesday announced a price of Rs 600 per dose for Covishield supplies to private hospitals and Rs 400 per dose to state governments.

April 22, 2021 / 05:54 PM IST
Serum Institute India (SII) CEO Adar Poonawalla (Image: Twitter/@adarpoonawalla)

Serum Institute India (SII) CEO Adar Poonawalla (Image: Twitter/@adarpoonawalla)

Upset over anti-coronavirus vaccine pricing by the Serum Institute of India (SII), a BJP MLA has compared its CEO Adar Poonawalla with a "dacoit" and asked the government to "acquire" the company under the Epidemic Diseases Act.

Gorakhpur MLA Radha Mohan Das Agrawal made the remarks after SII on Wednesday announced a price of Rs 600 per dose for Covishield supplies to private hospitals and Rs 400 per dose to state governments.

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"@adarpoonawalla you are worse than a dacoit. @PMOIndia @AmitShah @blsanthosh @drharshvardhan should acquire your factory under epidemic act," the MLA, who is also a doctor, said in a tweet in Hindi on Wednesday.

Also Read: Covishield vaccine's revised prices still only 50% of global rates, says SII CEO Adar Poonawalla

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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In a series of tweets, Agrawal also referred to the Swaminathan Commission's formula for agriculture costs and prices.

The world's largest vaccine maker announced pricing of AstraZeneca shots it manufactures at its Pune facility, following the government decision to open up inoculation to all citizens above 18 years of age.

Follow our full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic here.
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