New Delhi: Did the western media fake it all or hyped certain things out of context?
“I look forward to reviewing operations (Covishield production) upon my return in a few days,” CEO and owner of Serum Institute of India tweeted. He wrote on the microblogging site that he had “an excellent meeting with all our partners and stakeholders in the United Kingdom”. He further wrote, “…meanwhile, pleased to state that COVISHIELD’s production is in full swing in Pune”.
The missive came hours after,London-based ‘The Times’ claimed and quoted Poonawala stating that ‘Threats’ is an “understatement”. The spin and style adopted in reporting gave an impression that “phone calls” and other kinds of pressure was building up and that the “biggest manufacturer of vaccines in the world” had left India for personal security.
An English daily from eastern India even used the word “escaped” to suggest that Poonawala would prefer to stay away from India for sometime.
“India’s vaccines supremo hints that he may start producing in Britain and tells Martin Fletcher about threatening calls from the rich and powerful,” The Times report had claimed.
It also said, Poonawalla has maintained that: “The level of expectation and aggression is really unprecedented. It’s overwhelming. Everyone feels they should get the vaccine. They can’t understand why anyone else should get it before them.”
The report also said: “The phone calls are the worst thing, says Adar Poonawalla, the biggest manufacturer of vaccines in the world. They are incessant and very menacing, adds the man whose Serum Institute is producing 90 per cent of India’s Covid-19 vaccines at a time when the pandemic is rampaging through the second most populous country on Earth, causing fear, panic and death on an appalling scale”.
“The calls come from some of the most powerful men in India. They come from the chief ministers of Indian states, heads of business conglomerates and others demanding instant supplies of Covishield, as the AstraZeneca vaccine is known in India”.
Even on social media, many suggested whether he had left India because of this threat perception.
One Atul Shukla wrote, “No need to worry we are with you”. Deepak Chaudhary identifying himself as ‘Proud Hindu’ writes: “You are the jewel of India & have made the whole country proud. There are always a few rotten souls but don’t bother about them”.
Some even urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government to ensure adequate security for Poonawala.
The 40-year-old business tycoon was recently given Y-level security cover by the central government.
Armed commandos of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) are to be with him every time he travels to any part of the country,
“I’m staying here (London) for an extended time because I don’t want to go back to that situation. Everything falls on my shoulders but I can’t do it alone…I don’t want to be in a situation where you are just trying to do your job, and just because you can’t supply the needs of X, Y or Z you really don’t want to guess what they are going to do,” Mr Poonawalla was quoted as telling ‘The Times’.