The government told Parliament on Tuesday that it has received 5.45 crore doses of Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin in over six months till July 16. The company had orders to supply 8 crore jabs by July-end. The government said the company has communicated that it will be increasing its monthly production to 5.8 crore doses soon. “The procurement process of COVID-19 vaccines has adequate in-built mechanisms of financial penalty in case of delay in delivery of vaccines by the manufacturers. The current average monthly capacity of production of Covishield by Serum Institute of India is 11 crore doses and of Covaxin by Bharat Biotech International Limited is 2.5 crore doses,” the health ministry has told Parliament in a written reply.
India is banking on Bharat Biotech for nearly 48 crore doses in all, and placed an order of 19 crore doses to be supplied starting from August.
The supply of 5.45 crore doses of Covaxin between January 1 and July 16 includes the procurement done by the Government of India, state government and private hospitals, the Centre said in its reply.
The Serum Institute has supplied 36.1 crore doses of Covishield in the same period, and has told the government that it will increase its monthly production to 12 crore doses soon. 3.3 million doses of Russia’s Sputnik V have been imported so far, the government told Parliament.
Bharat Biotech, which had submitted the application to the World Health Organization on July 9, 2021, is also yet to receive its approval for Covaxin. “Based on time taken for approval of other COVID-19 vaccines, it is estimated that the WHO-EUL process takes approximately 2 to 3 months from the date of submission,” the government said in another reply to the Parliament.
On the supply of US’ Pfizer and Moderna vaccines in India, the government said while the former has been cleared for ‘restricted use in emergency situation’ by the Drug Controller General of India, Pfizer is not yet approved. “No doses of Moderna and Pfizer vaccines have so far been received under US donation programme. The National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC) is deliberating with offshore COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers including Moderna and Pfizer for procurement of these vaccines,” the government said.