Johns Hopkins awards highest honor to Indian vaccine maker

Dr. Cyrus S Poonawalla awarded Dean’s Medal for outstanding work in developing and delivering affordable vaccines

The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has awarded the Dean’s medal to Indian vaccine maker Dr. Cyrus S Poonawalla for his outstanding work in developing and delivering affordable vaccines.

The honor was presented to Serum Institute of India (SII) Chairman, Dr. Poonawalla for his decades long contribution to the Indian biosciences industry during the Convocation ceremony on May 21, according to an SII press release.

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Past award winners include social justice advocate Cheryl Dorsey, Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Laurie Garrett and former Baltimore Health Commissioner Leana Wen.

“It is a proud moment for me to receive this prestigious award by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health,” said Poonawalla, who founded SII in 1966.

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

SII is a global leader in terms of vaccine production with 4 billion doses annually. SII had partnered early on with UNICEF and the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO). Its measles vaccine supply to UNICEF and PAHO between 1990 to 2016 has prevented 22 million deaths.

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A biotech company, SII has been working towards the ‘right of high-quality and affordable healthcare for children’ through immunization for over six decades with governmental, intergovernmental, and non-governmental organizations on universal vaccination to reduce childhood mortality.

Protecting more than two–thirds of the global infant population, SII’s vaccines has resulted in an estimated saving of 30 million lives, the release said. Today, SII’s vaccine portfolio includes Polio vaccine, Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis, Hib, BCG, r-Hepatitis B, Measles, Mumps, Rubella as well as Pneumococcal and Covid-19 vaccines.

SII is credited with bringing world-class technology to India, through its state-of-the-art equipped multifunctional production facility in Manjri, Pune, India. It supplies the world’s cheapest vaccines to as many as 171 countries.

During the devastating Covid-19 pandemic, SII brought international institutes and governments together to collaborate and build innovation-driven solutions, SII said.

Read: Cyrus Poonawalla gets top Johns Hopkins honour for developing Covid vaccine (May 23, 2022)

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

Fostering an R&D ecosystem of change and growth in vaccine development, SII has enabled equitable access for LMIC’s to life-saving Covid-19 vaccines, with a capacity to produce 250 million doses per month, it said.

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