By Shalini Bhardwaj
New Delhi [India], April 12 (ANI): As some countries are presently reporting higher COVID-19 cases, Chief Executive Officer of Serum Institute of India (SII) Adar Poonawalla on Tuesday said that India is better prepared to face it now than it was in 2020.
In an exclusive interview, Poonawalla said, "We are definitely far better prepared than we were in 2020. In 2020, we did not have the testing capabilities, the genomic sequencing. We didn't have any of that. We didn't have the hospital infrastructure that we have here today."
Lauding Prime Minister Narendra Modi's leadership during the COVID pandemic, the SII CEO said that India now has strengthened healthcare.
"When you look at the position the country is in under PM Modi's leadership, we have strengthened all these areas, vaccines treatments etc. In 2020, the pandemic caught everyone off guard globally," he said.
Poonawalla further added that the Centre's decision of allowing all adults to take the COVID-19 booster dose has made the country better prepared to deal with any future wave that may come.
The precautionary third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine for the 18-plus population at private vaccination centres began on April 10.
All those who are more than 18 years of age and have completed nine months after the administration of the second dose, would be eligible for the precaution dose, the Union Ministry of Health said.
Notably, on April 9, SII announced that it has revised the price of its COVID vaccine Covishield for private hospitals from Rs 600 to Rs 225 per dose.
This facility would be available in all private vaccination centres. The Centre has also allowed the private COVID-19 vaccination centres to charge up to a maximum of Rs 150 as a service charge for vaccination over and above the cost of the vaccine.
India reported 796 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, Union Health Ministry said on Tuesday. With this, the active caseload has gone up to 11,889. (ANI)