The Russian-made Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine which had arrived in Tamil Nadu with much fanfare after the World Health Organization’s (WHO) approval, has very less takers now leading to private hospitals and pharmacies putting it out of their shelves.
A private hospital in Vadaplani, Chennai, which administered the vaccine after it was rolled out last June, has stopped injecting it for the past two months.
A senior doctor attached with the hospital told IANS: “Now there are very fewer takers for the Sputnik V vaccine and we have stopped administering it. The demand is now high for Covaxin and we are administering it for the 15-18 age group also. Covishield was the popular vaccine earlier but now the demand is for Covaxin."
During the initial phases of the vaccine drive, Covaxin was in less demand as it had not received the WHO’s approval. It was Sputnik V and Covishield that most of the private hospitals stored during that period.
According to the state public health department, only 10,000 doses of Sputnik V have been administered in hospitals across Tamil Nadu, while 8.2 crore doses of Covishield and 1.5 crore doses of Covaxin have been used till date.
Another factor that hinders the sale of Sputnik V is the price. Each dose is priced at Rs 995 with a service charge of Rs 150.
It is administered within a gap of 21 days and doctors said that each dose of the vaccine is different in composition from the other. This uniqueness in composition also another reason for the vaccine to be unpopular in the state.
Hospitals in the state had to buy the first and second doses separately as each has a different adenovirus, leading to difficulties in stock management.
The state government entering into a massive vaccination drive has also led to the reduced sale of the Sputnik V vaccine.
However, the efficacy of the vaccine is regarded at a high level by the doctors and it was rated at more than 90 per cent but the short time duration between the two doses has also led to fewer takers for it.
The state commenced administering Covishield and Covaxin free of cost in vaccination camps and this also led to a decrease in the sale of Sputnik V.