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'Projections With a Grain of Salt': Virologist Gagandeep Kang on Centre's Vaccine Production Estimates

Registered beneficiaries receive their COVID-19 vaccine shots in Thane, Saturday (PTI Photo)

Registered beneficiaries receive their COVID-19 vaccine shots in Thane, Saturday (PTI Photo)

Kang also said there is also no sufficient data to show the efficacy of Bharat Biotech's nasal vaccine and Zydus Cadila's DNA vaccine.

One of India’s eminent virologists, Gagandeep Kang, said she is skeptical about the Centre’s claim that it will get over 2 billion doses of vaccine from August to December, as the production capacity of vaccine makers such as Serum Institute and Bharat Biotech is yet to ramp up.

In an exclusive interview with Moneycontrol, she said here is also no sufficient data to show the efficacy of Bharat Biotech’s nasal vaccine and Zydus Cadila’s DNA vaccine, she added.

“I take the projections with a grain of salt. If you remember, last year, we were told that, by December, Serum Institute would produce 100 million doses of vaccine and Bharat Biotech in tens of millions of doses. There was going to be a large stockpile that was available with them. As we have found, that is not case,” said Kang to Moneycontrol’s Chandra R Srikant.

After Uttar Pradesh and Mumbai’s civic body, four more states on May 15 floated global tenders for procuring a total of 121 million vaccine doses. News18 has reviewed copies of the tenders floated by the governments of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Odisha and Uttarakhand.

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While Tamil Nadu’s tender has cited a requirement of 50 million vaccine doses within three months of placing an order, Odisha’s tender has sought 38 million vaccine doses within four months of order while Uttarakhand’s tender has sought vaccines for “3 million individuals”. On the other hand, Karnataka government floated a global tender for procuring three crore COVID-19 vaccines owing to supply shortage.

Meanwhile, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president DK Shivakumar took to Twitter and said: “Congress Party would like permission to directly approach vaccine makers across the world and procure them. We will show that we can do the vaccination drive better and faster than Modi and Yediyurappa together are able to.”

Minutes before Shivakumar’s tweet, former Karnataka CM and Congress legislative party leader Siddaramaiah addressed the media and said the state Congress has decided to donate Rs 100 crore to procure vaccines. Speaking to the media, he said: “We have decided to give Rs 100 crore from the Congress party. But on one condition; the money should only be used to procure vaccines and there has to be transparency on how the money is being spent.”

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first published:May 17, 2021, 11:40 IST