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Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health honours Dr Cyrus S Poonawalla

Dr Poonawalla has been felicitated with Dean’s medal for his life-long contribution with this honour, reserved for luminaries demonstrating exceptional leadership in safeguarding, improving public health

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The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health awarded the Dean’s Medal to Dr Cyrus S Poonawalla, Chairman, Serum Institute of India (SII), for his outstanding work in developing and delivering affordable vaccines and contributing to the Indian biosciences industry for decades now. The honour was presented during the Convocation ceremony held on 21st May, 2022, according to a statement from SII.

Founding SII in Pune in 1966, Dr Poonawalla’s foresight has helped the institute achieve global leadership in terms of production with four billion doses, annually. SII had partnered early on with the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (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, the statement notified.

Further, as per the statement, speaking during the convocation, Dr Poonawalla said, “It is a proud moment for me to receive this prestigious award by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. 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 points. This award is a motivation for SII to take up bigger challenges ahead and fortifies our objective of inclusive healthcare for all.”

SII has been working towards the ‘right of high-quality and affordable healthcare for children’ through immunisation for over six decades with governmental, inter-governmental, and non-governmental organisations 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.

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

During the 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 worldwide. Fostering an R&D ecosystem of change and growth in vaccine development, it has enabled equitable access for LMICs to life-saving COVID-19 vaccines, with a capacity to produce 250 million doses per month.

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