India will receive 130.5 crore Covid vaccine doses between August and December, government officials on Monday told a parliamentary standing committee on home affairs that was taking stock of the situation in the country amid the pandemic and the preparedness to deal with a possible third wave.
The supply would include 50 crore Covishield, 40 crore Covaxin, 30 crore Bio E’s Corbevax, 5 crore Zydus Cadila’s ZyCov-D and 10 crore Sputnik.
As of early Monday morning, India had surpassed the United States in the total number of doses administered. While the vaccination exercise began in India on January 16, the US has been providing jabs since December 14 last year.
The standing committee on home affairs met under the chairmanship of Congress lawmaker Anand Sharma to discuss the socio-economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, with union home secretary Ajay Bhalla, health secretary Rajesh Bhushan and other senior officials present.
The government gave a long presentation on India’s fight against the novel coronavirus and how the country’s current vaccination drive is progressing.
When members of the committee asked about the inoculation exercise, health ministry officials said that India had crossed over 33 crore vaccine doses administered and that the average vaccination drive from June 21-25 to date was 65.4%. A total of 26.54 crore people from the Indian population had taken the first jab and 5.64 crore had been completely vaccinated, the panel was told. The figures available on government records show that till June 25, a total of 51,534 members of the ‘other’ gender had been inoculated.
Committee members also asked the officials that if the union government claimed that all the adult population in the country would be vaccinated by the end of the year, what would the vaccine supply look like? The panel was told that a total of 186.6 crore doses will be available domestically, from January 2021 to December 2021.
This does not include Covavax of Serum Institute of India/Novavax, Gennova’s mRNA vaccine and intranasal vaccine of Bharat Biotech that are under development or foreign vaccines of Johnson and Johnson, Pfizer, Moderna, etc.
To the questions and concerns articulated by the committee members about the new Covid variants, government officials said that the Delta plus or AY.1 strain has been isolated and cultured at the Indian Council of Medical Research-National Institute of Virology, Pune, and antibody potency experiments for Covaxin and Covishield will be completed in the next two weeks.
When representatives of the panel asked about a possible third wave, health ministry officials said that they did not have a definite time frame or any detailed report to suggest how many weeks it would take. The committee then uniformly suggested that no panic should be created in a bid to get some time on television or other media.
The panel members also asked the government departments if there was any lack in India’s preparation and why was the country not able to anticipate the second wave of Covid, which proved destructive. The officials present said they did not have any data and that the response to the question would be provided in a written form to the committee.