India Must Get More COVID Vaccines, Increase Production: Tata Sons Chairman N Chandrasekaran

Tata Sons Chairman N Chandrasekaran said on Monday that India needed to obtain as many COVID-19 vaccine licenses as possible and replicate several factories on the war footing to increase production to meet requirements as the country folds under the devastating second wave of the pandemic.

Calling the second wave “ worrying and frightening, ” the head of the more than $ 100 billion conglomerate also called for speeding up the tracing, vaccination and tracking of the vaccine supply while claiming that a lockdown nationwide is not the solution as it would hit the economy hard. and have the greatest impact on people in the lower strata of society.

“We need to get as many different vaccine licenses as possible and we’re going to expand, even if we have to replicate multiple factories,” Chandrsekaran said during a speech at an event hosted by AIMA.

He was responding to a question about how he would have handled the current situation if he had been given responsibility.

While calling it a difficult question, he added: “We really have to do it on a war footing …”

In addition, whatever investments are required, it must be done in a short period of time in order to be able to increase production, he stressed.

“We have to understand how we reproduce, how we mass produce, so that we can meet the requirement because it is something that has to be done. It is an urgent situation,” said Chandrasekaran.

The immediate thing that can be done during this time, he said, “is to do the same now tracing and vaccination” and monitor the vaccine supply.

On April 13, India fast-tracked emergency use approval for eligible COVID-19-produced vaccines overseas, with the aim of expanding its vaccine basket and accelerating the campaign to inoculation that received a boost with a third Sputnik V vaccine from Russia get clearance.

Already two vaccines – Covaxin by Bharat Biotech and Covishield by Serum Institute of India (SII) – are being used for inoculation in India.

Commenting on the possibility of a foreclosure and its impact, Chandrasekaran said: “The most important thing now is to handle the current situation very carefully. On the one hand, you have to protect people, you have to make sure that people don’t get caught up. not in hospitals in large numbers.

“At the same time, we are protecting the economy because there are segments of society that will suffer so badly from severe economic disruption. It is a reality.”

He added: “Unfortunately we don’t have either or the option. We often like binaries, but it’s not a binary option. It needs to be handled with care and we need to vaccinate at a level of urgency that we have never taken any initiative at this rate. Much remains to be done. ”

Stating that “no one has been able to predict the behavior of the pandemic in the past 12 months” and that several countries have struggled, he said now is not the time to point fingers.

“It is very unfair to criticize someone every day. The nature of the beast is such that it has a lot of unpredictability.

“No one predicted so many variants, we are learning new terms – variants, mutation, double mutation. Every day we are learning new things. The way it has accelerated over the past 10 days or 2 weeks has took everyone by surprise, ”he says.

However, he suggested the use of artificial intelligence and predictive analytics based on what has been observed in places like Delhi and Mumbai.

Chandrasekaran also declined to comment much on the impact of the second wave of the pandemic on the economy, saying that “it will be a bad day today to say too much about the economy because there is a lot of suffering. We need oxygen. We need hospital beds. We need vaccines. We need Remdesivir. We need so many things… In a way, everyone’s attention today is to solve these problems. ”

He said, however, that sectors like airlines and hospitality will take time to recover from the impact of the pandemic.

Reiterating that a lockdown is not the solution to the current situation, he said: “If we do a serious lockdown and these industries (manufacturing and construction) don’t work, we are going to seriously hurt the economy. the big time economy, we will hurt a section of big time workers, their livelihood will suffer, which we saw last time. ”

Chandrasekaran suggested using predictive analytics to anticipate pockets where there will be an increase in COVID-19 cases, learn from what happened in Delhi and Mumbai, and have a concerted plan to be able to manage these segments.

“It is not a national solution, a solution for all,” he said.