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Boost to India’s Vaccine Armour as 45 Crore Doses Likely by October; Zydus, Novavax May Join Forces

The government is also confident of fully vaccinating most adults in the country by the end of December. (Reuters)

The government is also confident of fully vaccinating most adults in the country by the end of December. (Reuters)

The WHO nod for Bharat Biotech's Covaxin is also expected this month after August 15.

The government is expecting four more vaccines to join its arsenal by October while it is confident of getting 20 crore vaccine doses in August and 25 crore doses in September from the old players, top government sources have told News18.

The WHO nod for Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin is also expected this month after August 15 as the government believes the vaccine has met all required criteria and the signs are positive. “Vaccines of Biological-E, Zydus Cadila, Novavax and Gennova are expected by October,” the source said, adding that the approvals from regulators could come through by then and some of these vaccine makers are already doing at-risk production of vaccines.

The source said the government will get 20 crore vaccine doses of Covishield, Covaxin and Sputnik V in August and 25 crore doses in September. “We would be able to do 1 crore daily vaccinations in September,” the source said, adding that supplies of Covaxin are expected to improve from this month.

The government is confident of a third wave of Covid-19 not hitting India, unless the unpredictability of a mutant variant emerges, the source said “We may stay at level of 40000 to 50000 daily cases or rise till about 1 lakh cases in an eventuality but are confident of not going above that,” the source said.

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The government is also confident of fully vaccinating most adults in the country by the end of December and expects that 80 per cent of all adults will be willing to get both doses of the vaccine by then, which a source said would also be a big achievement compared to all other countries. The government is however not banking much on the foreign-made vaccines — Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson — as reportedly besides seeking indemnity, some of them were also seeking sovereign guarantees that the Indian government was not willing to give.

“The foreign vaccine makers also do not have excess stocks for us,” the source said, adding that India will soon have enough capacity of domestic vaccines. The government has also not been impressed much by the experience of Sputnik V as enough supplies of the vaccine could not become available and the component of the second dose of Sputnik V was different from the first one, complicating the vaccination exercise.

Government sources also denied any shortage of vaccines in the country, saying that as on date there were 5.1 crore vaccine doses in stocks with the states and private hospitals — over three crore doses with states and two crore with private hospitals. “In Maharashtra, there are 41 lakh doses in stock with state government and 49 lakh with private hospitals. In West Bengal, the figure is 26 lakh and 28 lakh with government and private hospitals respectively,” the government source said.

The Centre has also tweaked the 25 per cent private vaccine quota given the huge stocks lying with private hospitals who are not buying adequately from the manufacturers too. The government has told manufacturers that they should supply only that much to private sector as the latter want to buy and the rest of the production can be given to the government. “That stock is being procured by government at the same price at which we are buying the 75% government quota supplies,” the source said.

Adar Poonawalla of Serum Institute of India will be meeting Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya in Delhi on Friday. A source said the government is happy with the performance of Serum Institute of India, remarking that it had supplied more doses of Covishield every month than the government asked for.

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first published:August 05, 2021, 19:15 IST