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Order Placed in May, Production Yet to Begin, Centre Tells SC About Bharat Biotech's Covaxin

File photo of Bharat Biotech's Covaxin.

File photo of Bharat Biotech's Covaxin.

The Centre also told SC that India has the capacity to store vaccines that may require a lower temperature in the range of minus 15 to minus 20 degrees Celsius.

According to an affidavit filed by the Centre in the Supreme Court, Bharat Biotech has not begun supply for a batch of vaccines, an order for which was placed in May.

According to a report by The Hindu, the Health Ministry placed an order of five crore doses on May 5 that is expected to be delivered by the end of July. However, in its remarks in the affidavit on the “supply status” of the vaccine, the Centre notes that of this lot, “Covaxin was yet to start supply”.

This, however, was based on information updated as of June 21.

Meanwhile, the Centre told the Supreme Court that India has the capacity to store vaccines that may require a lower temperature in the range of minus 15 to minus 20 degrees Celsius and there are over 29,000 cold chain points (CCPs) across the country where vaccines are stored at the recommended temperatures.

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In an affidavit filed in the apex court in a suo moto case on distribution of essential supplies and services during the Covid-19 pandemic, the Centre has said that at present, the two vaccines — Covishield and Covaxin — are required to be stored at a temperature range of two to eight degrees Celsius.

The Centre has said the requirement for cold storage may change with the arrival of other Covid-19 vaccines in the future and it is fully prepared to take appropriate steps as and when such vaccines are available. “The country also has the capacity to store vaccines which may require a lower temperature in the range of minus 15 to minus 20 degrees Centigrade. The Sputnik V vaccine requires storage at minus 18 degrees Centigrade," said the affidavit filed on Saturday.

“It is submitted that there are more than 29,000 cold chain points (CCPs) across the country in states/UTs, where the vaccines are stored at recommended temperatures," it said, adding, “Of the above CCPs, four national level stores i.e. Government Medical Store Depot (GMSD) are managed by the Government of India and the remaining are managed by the respective state/UT governments," it added. It said there are 37 state vaccine stores, 114 regional vaccine stores, 723 district vaccine stores and 28,268 sub-district vaccine stores.

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