A day after Bharat Biotech slammed Serum Institute of Indias CEO Adar Poonawalla for his ‘water’ comment about some COVID-19 vaccines, both the vaccine makers today jointly pledged for a smooth roll-out of the antidote in the country and the world, saying saving lives and livelihoods was the most important task for them.

In a joint statement posted on their respective twitter accounts, the companies said Serum Institute Chief Executive Officer Poonawalla and Bharat Biotech Chairman Krishna Ella communicated their combined intent to develop, manufacture and supply the COVID-19 vaccines.

They said the more important task in front of them was saving the lives and livelihoods of populations in India and the world. The vaccines were a global public health good and have the power to save lives and accelerate the return to economic normalcy at the earliest, the statement said.

“We are fully aware of the importance of vaccines for the people and countries alike, we hereby communicate our joint pledge to provide global access for our COVID-19 vaccines,” it said.

The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) on Sunday approved Oxford COVID-19 vaccine Covishield, manufactured by the Serum Institute, and Covaxin of the city-based Bharat Biotech for restricted emergency use in the country.

Now that two COVID-19 vaccines have been issued emergency use authorisation in the country, the focus was on manufacturing, supply and distribution, such that people who need it the most receive high-quality, safe and efficacious vaccines, the two companies said.

“Both our companies are fully engaged in this activity and consider it our duty to the nation and the world at large to ensure a smooth roll-out of vaccines. Each of our companies continue their COVID-19 vaccine development activities as planned,” the joint statement said.

Without naming Poonawalla who had called vaccines other than that of Pfizer, Moderna and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines “just like water”, Krishna Ella on Monday in a media briefing slammed the Pune-based vaccine maker for the remarks.