There is enough data available now to indicate that it is even better to give two different vaccine shots to protect against Covid-19, said Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, founder and executive chairperson of Biocon Limited, on Friday.
“There is a need to mix and match studies which will allow to speed up vaccinations,” Shaw said, adding, “There is enough data available now to indicate that it is even better to give two different vaccine shots. Most vaccines are likely to be durable for at least a year, if not more.”
Last week, the central government announced the official entry of Moderna Covid-19 vaccine in India. Moderna’s vaccine will be the fourth Covid-19 jab to be available here after Covishield, Covaxin and Sputnik. With this move, the focus has now shifted on the Pfizer vaccine which is also expected to be available in the country soon.
Speaking to CNBC, Shaw said, “Pfizer should get approval after Moderna’s approval. Moderna doesn’t need to be manufactued in India but imported.”
“It will be good to manufacture mRNA vaccines in India even if it is still fill and finish,” she said, adding, “Cannot comment on whether Biocon could participate in import of vaccines.”
Shaw’s Bengaluru-based Biocon makes Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (APIs), small molecules, biologics and other bio-pharmaceutical products.
On June 21, India made a global record with highest single-day vaccinations as it administered over 86 lakh anti-coronavirus jabs in a day. A little over a week later, the vaccination rate of the country has dropped by 68 percent with India administering just 27.6 lakh jabs on Wednesday, as per the Union Health Ministry data.
New centralised free vaccination policy against coronavirus in India started from June 21. Under this, all above 18 years of age are being provided free jabs. The Union government is now procuring 75 percent of vaccines and giving them to states for free distribution. The Centre took the charge as the previous policy of letting states buy a portion of their requirements directly from companies was drastically impacting the vaccination drive.
In terms of average per day vaccination, India has vaccinated 20.22 lakh people each day between January 16 — the beginning of the vaccination drive — and June 30.
The nationwide Covid-19 vaccination drive started on January 16 in India. In the first phase, health workers and other essential frontline workers were covered. In phase 2, started from March 1, all senior citizens aged more than 60 years and those in the age group of 45-59 years with co-morbidities were eligible for vaccination. From April 1, those above 45 years were eligible.