Serum Institute of India's CEO Adar Poonawalla will get Y category security across India, the country's ministry of home affairs notified on Wednesday. The security category generally comprises 11 personnel, including one or two commandoes and police personnel.
The move comes ahead of the third phase of the vaccination scheduled to begin from 1 May. Pune's Serum Institute of India, which is the largest vaccine producer in the country by the number of doses produced in a year, is one of the lynchpins in India's expansion of the vaccination drive. Apart from SII's Covishield, Bharat Biotech's Covaxin is the other vaccine to be made available in the private market.
The Central Reserve Police Force will provide him with security and it will be applicable across India, wherever he travels.
In the past few days, Poonawalla has received flak for "profiteering" as his vaccine company was offering one dose of Covishield to the Centre at Rs150, while charging Rs400 from the state governments.
On Wednesday, after the Centre opened registration for vaccination of people between the age group of 18 and 44 years, Poonawalla announced a reduction in the price as he slashed the price by Rs100. Instead of Rs400 per dose, states will now have to pay Rs300 per dose of Covishield. However, the reduction is not fully assuaging the concerns of the state governments as the difference between the prices still remains