All set to get jab soon: 216-crore vaccine doses to be ready in 5 months
New Delhi: As States grapple with a shortage of corona virus vaccines, the Centre on Thursday said that over two billion doses will be made available...
New Delhi: As States grapple with a shortage of corona virus vaccines, the Centre on Thursday said that over two billion doses will be made available in the country in five months between August and December, enough to vaccinate the entire population. V K Paul, Member (Health), Niti Aayog, also said the Russian anti-Covid vaccine Sputnik V is likely to be available by next week.
With the domestic supply falling short to meet the huge demand, several states and Union Territories including Delhi, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have decided to opt for global tenders for procurement of anti-coronavirus shots.
Acknowledging the crunch, Paul said vaccines are important "but it takes time" to produce and make them available. "We are passing through a phase when supply is finite. This is why we prioritised. Which is why (when) free vaccines were given by the government of India, their focus was on vulnerable age groups. We have to keep this mind," he said at a Health Ministry briefing.
However, the officer said that by the end of the year there will be enough vaccine doses in the country to inoculate the entire population.
"Over two billion doses will be made in the country in five months (August to December) for India and for the people of India. Vaccine will be available for all as we move forward," Paul said, adding that the number is likely to be ramped up to three billion by the first quarter of the next year. He said that the estimated 216 crore doses that are likely to be produced between August and December include 75 crore doses of Covishield and 55 cores doses of Covaxin.
Further, Biological E is expected to produce 30 crore doses, Zydus Cadila 5 crore, Serum Institute of India 20 crore doses of Novavax, and Bharat Biotech 10 crore doses of its nasal vaccine, while Gennova will make available 6 crore doses and Sputnik V 15.6 crore doses, he said.
The vaccine candidates of Biological E, Zydus Cadila, Gennova, Bharat Biotech's nasal vaccine are in various stages of clinical trials.
On the procurement of vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, Paul said the government is in touch with these firms through the Department of Biotechnology and the Ministry of External Affairs.
"We asked formally whether they would like to send doses to India, manufacture in India, we will find partners. They said they will talk about vaccine availability in Q3 (quarter 3). We have intensified this process with Moderna, Pizer and J&J and we hope they will come forward," Paul said.
"This is happening at the highest level," he stressed. "We invite (them). They make vaccines here, make it with our companies through technology transfer. Under the new strategy, that channel is open and we will support in every possible way," he said.
On vaccination drives in other countries compared to India, Paul cited the examples of the US, Germany and France where the entire population has not received the single dose of vaccine yet. The government has already said that India is the fastest country globally to reach the landmark of administering 17 crore doses in 114 days.