In order to address the shortage of jabs and move towards the ambitious target of vaccinating the entire population by December this year, the Centre is planning to ramp up on a “mission mode”, targeting an average of around 1 crore inoculations per day from around mid-July or August.
A report by Times of India quoted a government official saying, “It is a matter of around two months. Once supplies improve, the number of vaccinations per day will go up remarkably. We have to do it and planning is going on."
Current estimates show that around 20 crore doses consisting of around 10 crore of Covishield, 7.5 crore of Covaxin and 2.5 crore doses of Sputnik V are likely to be supplied in July. This may further increase if imported vaccines from Moderna enter the market.
“By August, we will have 20-25 crore vaccine doses per month. We are aiming to vaccinate 1 crore people every day,” said N K Arora, chairperson of the on Covid-19 Vaccination.
Moderna is expecting to launch a single-dose COVID-19 vaccine in India next year and is in talks with Cipla among other Indian firms, while another US giant Pfizer is ready to offer 5 crore shots in 2021 itself but it wants significant regulatory relaxations including indemnification.
While Moderna has conveyed to Indian authorities that it does not have surplus vaccines to share in 2021, there are limited prospects of Johnson & Johnson exporting its jabs from the US to other countries in the near future, the sources privy to discussions added.
Two rounds of high-level meetings chaired by the Cabinet Secretary were held last week on the availability of vaccines in the global as well as domestic markets as it was felt that there is an urgent need to procure the jabs at a time the country is reeling under an unprecedented second wave of COVID-19 and a widening gap between supply and requirement.
Currently, the country is using two “made-in India" jabs, Covishield and Covaxin, to inoculate its billion-plus population and has administered 20 crore doses since launching the world"s largest vaccination drive in mid-January. A third vaccine, Russian-made Sputnik V, has been approved by the government and is being used on a smaller scale at present.
In the high-level meeting officials from the Ministry of External Affairs, NITI Aayog, Department of Biotechnology, Law Ministry and Health Ministry were present.