Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be visiting Serum Institute of India (SII) on Saturday to see the Covid-19 vaccine production and proposed distribution plan, a senior official confirmed on Thursday.
“We have received official confirmation about the Prime Minister’s visit to Pune on November 28. The PM will visit Serum Institute which is working on the production of Covid-19 vaccine,” said Pune divisional commissioner Saurabh Rao.
However, there was no independent confirmation from the Prime Minister’s office on his visit as yet.
Meanwhile, the administration has already held multiple meetings to prepare for Modi’s visit to Pune. The Prime Minister, according to officials, will visit various facilities at SII’s Hadapsar campus where the Pune firm has began the production of Covishield vaccine.
SII, the world’s largest vaccine maker, has signed an agreement to manufacture the vaccine developed by the Jenner Institute of Oxford University in collaboration with British-Swedish pharma company AstraZeneca. Both University of Oxford and AstraZeneca on Monday said that their vaccine was up to 90% effective in late-stage clinical trials, raising hopes for its arrival in India by the end of the year.
Rao said the minute to minute programme of Modi would be ready by afternoon. “The PM’s visit will be aimed at reviewing the status of the vaccine candidate for coronavirus infection and to know about its launch, production and distribution mechanisms,” said another official from the district administration.
Modi’s visit will precede the arrival of ambassadors and high commissioners of various countries at Serum Institute of India in Pune on December 4 to oversee the production of the Covid-19 vaccine and the company’s distribution plan, once it gets a nod from the regulators for use.
According to the itinerary released by the Ministry of External Affairs, the “familiarisation” visit of foreign ambassadors and high commissioners based in Delhi will be for one day and in two groups. The ambassadors will visit SII in the morning and spend around three hours visiting facilities at the company’s Hadapsar campus. By afternoon, they will arrive at Gennova Biopharmaceuticals Limited, which is also working on the production of another Covid-19 vaccine, at its Hinjewadi campus, before heading back to Delhi.