SII chief Poonawalla gets top Johns Hopkins honour

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The US-based Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has awarded the Dean’s Medal to Serum Institute of India (SII) Chairman Dr Cyrus S. Poonawalla for his outstanding work in developing and delivering affordable vaccines and contributions to the Indian biosciences industry for several decades, a statement said here on Monday.

The SII, with its Covid-19 vaccines, played a huge role in fighting the Coronavirus pandemic that raged across the world in the past over two years.

The honour was presented to the SII chief at the convocation ceremony held on Saturday, and Poonawalla termed it a “proud moment”.

“Over the years, our constant endeavour has been to provide high-quality vaccines with regular supplies, which ensure excellent immunisation coverage to children and families worldwide at an affordable, sustainable price point. The award is a motivation for SII to take up bigger challenges ahead and fortifies our objective of inclusive healthcare for all,” he added.

During the Coronavirus pandemic, SII brought international institutes and governments together to collaborate and build innovation-driven solutions.

Through strategic foresight and at-risk manufacturing, SII produced 1.9 billion doses and supplied 1.65 billion doses of Covid-19 vaccines to the world.

Currently, the SII’s vaccine portfolio includes those for polio, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, Hib, BCG, r-hepatitis B, measles, mumps, rubella as well as pneumococcal and Covid-19 vaccines.

The SII is credited with bringing world-class technology to India, supplying the world’s cheapest vaccines to as many as 171 countries.

Founded in 1966, SII achieved global leadership in terms of production of 4 billion doses annually, partnered early with the UNICEF and the Pan-American Health Organisation (PAHO) for supplying measles vaccines between 1990-2016 and prevented 22 million deaths.

Some of the past awardees include social justice advocate Cheryl Dorsey, Pulitzer Prize-winner journalist Laurie Garrett and former Baltimore Health Commissioner Leana Wen.

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