Tribune News Service
New Delhi, May 13
Amid a growing clamour for Covid vaccines and stock shortages across states, the Centre today said it was expecting that over 200 crore doses would become available in India between August and December this year, reaching up to 300 crore by the first quarter of 2022.
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Noting that India had inoculated 32 per cent of its people aged 45 years and above with single dose as against 27 per cent in France, 34 per cent in Germany and 46 per cent in the US, top government advisers today said the rate of vaccine coverage in India was “a matter to be proud of”.
Chairman of the empowered group on vaccines VK Paul projected the availability of 216 crore vaccine doses in India between August and December 2021, saying that the country would soon have enough stocks to cover 95 crore adults who would require 190 crore doses.
The projected availability of over 200 crore doses includes 75 crore doses of Covishield, 55 crore doses of Covaxin, 15.6 crore doses of Sputnik V (vaccines licensed in India) and stocks of the yet to be licensed vaccines — Bio E vaccine (projected availability of 30 crore doses between August and December); Zydus Cadila DNA vaccine (5 crore doses), Serum Institute’s Novovax (20 crore), Bharat Biotech’s nasal vaccine (10 crore), Gennova’s messenger RNA vaccine (60 lakh doses).
Paul said 1.5 lakh doses of Sputnik V that arrived in India recently would become available in the market next week and domestic production of Sputnik would start by July. Zydus Cadila vaccine is in the last stage trials and will apply for licensure soon.
“We expect over 2 billion doses to be made in India over August to December. Everyone will get vaccines. It takes time. Even the US, which had sufficient stockpiles, has inoculated only 46 per cent of its people aged 45 and above despite starting a month before India. We have covered one- third of our people over 45 years with a single dose. While we humbly accept all other narratives, this positive narrative is also a reality and we must feel proud of it,” Paul said.
He defended the Centre’s liberalised policy, saying it was drafted after states urged more say in the vaccine procurement.
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“States wanted flexibility, they indicated this. There was also a demand for private sector availability of vaccines. That is why a liberal vaccine policy came. We now invite Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson and Johnson manufacturers to come and produce in India,” said Paul.
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