To ramp up the vaccination drive and meet the high demand of doses, production of Covaxin will soon begin in Uttar Pradesh’s Bulandshahr. The Centre on Wednesday approved the manufacture of Covaxin, India’s indigenous vaccine being manufactured by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech, at Bulandshar plant of Bharat Immunologicals and Biologicals Corporation Limited (BIBCOL).
According to reports, the PSU will manufacture 2 crore doses of Covaxin every month. BIBCOL established in 1989 in Bulandshahar manufactures oral polio vaccines and other immunisers. Health ministry will provide Rs 30 crore to BIBCOL for Covaxin production.
Vaccine shortage has compelled many states to suspend the inoculation drive for people aged between 18-44. Maharashtra on Wednesday decided to suspend its drive to vaccinate people in the age group of 18 to 44 years, while Delhi also temporarily shut Covaxin administering centres for them as it has run out of stock.
The Tamil Nadu government was the latest to announce global tenders for procurement of COVID-19 vaccines, while the Rajasthan government was also mulling a similar step. Uttarakhand officials said the state will import 20 lakh doses of Sputnik vaccine over the next two months.
States like Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Delhi have already opted for global tenders to meet their needs.
Amid demands to ramp up domestic supply, Serum Institute and Bharat Biotech have submitted to the Centre their production plan for the next four months, informing that they can scale it up to 10 crore and 7.8 crore doses respectively by August, official sources said.
The Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech’s indigenously developed Covaxin and Oxford-AstraZeneca’s Covishield, being manufactured by the Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII), are currently being used in India’s inoculation drive against the coronavirus.
While the vaccination drive appeared to be faltering in several states, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan urged them to first focus more on second dose vaccinations.
He stressed that India is the fastest country globally to reach the landmark of administering 17 crore doses in 114 days.
(With PTI inputs)