The Union government is aiming to administer one crore coronavirus vaccine doses daily from August and advance orders of nearly 100 crore vaccines are being placed this month so that supplies could start coming in batches from August, News18 has learnt.
The daily vaccination stands at an average of 30 lakh this month.
“The target is to hit the one crore daily jabs mark in August. The new centralised free vaccination policy will help in this objective,” a senior government official said.
NITI Aayog member V.K. Paul on Tuesday also hinted towards a big escalation in vaccination numbers soon, saying India needs to “absorb” the big jump in vaccination supplies that are expected to come in from August.
Uttar Pradesh is already vaccinating 4.5 lakh people daily with a target to vaccinate one million people daily from July.
A daily country-wide vaccination target of one crore from August, which is expected to rise further in subsequent months, would stand the country in good stead for ‘absorbing’ the advance orders of 100 crore jabs being placed this month for those five months plus more anticipated supplies, the senior official explained to News18.
The Vaccine Math
Paul said the Centre on Tuesday placed the order for 44 crore vaccines with Serum Institute of India (SII) and Bharat Biotech (BB). These vaccines will be supplied in batches between August and December.
He further said the government was extremely hopeful of Biotech-E also starting supply from September of the advance order of 30 crore vaccines placed with it earlier this month, with capacity of 8 crore vaccines every month. That takes the advance order to 74 crore.
Paul also said further advance orders will be placed by the Centre to the companies for the 18-44 group, whose vaccination job has been taken back by the Centre from the states.
Given that the quota accounts for 25 per cent of all production, the Centre is expected to place an extra order of nearly 22 crore vaccines for that group. This would take Centre’s advance order to the three companies to nearly 100 crore.
Serum Institute and Bharat Biotech have assured the Centre of supplies of this huge scale, promising around 18 crore vaccines every month from August.
Further, private hospitals will also continue to buy 25 per cent directly from the two manufacturers as well as pick the imported Sputnik V doses, taking the total vaccine availability in the country between August and December to almost 125 crore.
“53.6 crore vaccines from SII, BB and Sputnik would have been available till July-end (since January) and most will be consumed by that date. Hence, from four companies — SII, BB, Sputnik, and Biotech-E, we will have over 180 crore vaccines by December (in entire 2021) — which will be enough to fully inoculate all adults by then,” the senior official quoted earlier explained to News18.
Local production of Sputnik V is expected to start from August, the possible import of Pfizer doses and coming through of some other candidates like the nasal vaccine of Bharat Biotech and the one of Zydus Cadila are expected to further bump up these numbers to the nearly 220 crore figure earlier cited by the government.
“The new vaccination guidelines have been tailored to achieve the aim of vaccinating all adults twice by 2022-end,” the official said.