COVID Vaccine Production & Availability

Currently, India is facing the worst pandemic crises of coronavirus with daily cases rising rapidly making the situation out of control for the Indian Government. This is because of the lack of COVID 19 vaccination of the major population to control the further spread of this deadly virus.

Yes, despite being a world’s number one manufacturer and producer of vaccine, India is struggling to vaccinate its own people due to the high population in the country and lack of medical infrastructure or distribution system to vaccinate people at a faster speed to immune the public.  

However, India is expected to receive more than 45 crore doses of vaccines by July, enough to fully vaccinate about a quarter of the country’s adult population with both the mandatory doses. Imported stocks of the Sputnik V vaccine and some under-development vaccines that may get approval soon will add to these numbers.

So far, 15.5 crore doses have been administered since January—when they were made available—and the central and state governments along with the private sector aim to get 30 crore more doses in three months until July. These estimates are based on the projected availability of stocks of Covishield (developed by Serum Institute of India and Covaxin (Bharat Biotech).

This could mean significant coverage of people of 60+ age and health care and frontline workers with both doses by the end of July and accelerated coverage of the 45+ age group. The 18-44 age group can however expect only a modest vaccination coverage until July.

What Serum Institute Said?

Serum Institute, India’s leading producer on Monday said it had total orders of 26 crore doses from the government of India since the vaccination started in January, and it had supplied 15 crore such doses already as on date.

The central government in a statement said it expected 11 crore doses from Serum in May, June and July. As per data available, 14.2 crore doses of Covishield have been already administered to people and another 78 lakh are in stock with the state governments or in pipeline from the Centre to various states.

Serum also said it was committed to supply 11 crore doses in the second channel to state governments and private hospitals in “the next few months”. Orders of nearly 35 crore doses have accumulated at Serum from states and private hospitals, but it can only deliver about 11 crore of such doses given its present capacity to produce about 7 crore doses a month, per sources. The company hopes to increase to 10 crore doses by July, they said.

This would mean about 22-23 crore doses in three months—and Serum is committing 11 crore out of them to Centre and 11 crore more to the states and private hospitals. All this would add up to Serum supplying a total of around 37 crore doses (15 crore supplied already and 22 crore in the pipeline) since inception until July.

What Bharat Biotech Saying?

Another 7.5 crore doses are expected by the Centre from the other vaccine-maker Bharat Biotech by July since inception, taking the total vaccine stocks between January and July to almost 45 crore. Bharat Biotech has supplied nearly 1.5 crore Covaxin vaccines so far out and the central government is expecting more than 6 crore doses of Covaxin between May and July as the Hyderbad-based company is increasing its monthly production to 2 crore doses from May.

The Centre said an order of 5 crore vaccines was placed with Bharat Biotech on April 28 for supplies during May, June and July and 1.1 crore vaccines are pending from a previous order placed in March.

Some states have also placed orders with Bharat Biotech under the second channel but those orders are not believed to be very substantive and only about 1-2 crore vaccines could be delivered possibly to the second channel until July because of the higher price being charged by Bharat Biotech at Rs 400 compared with the Rs 300 per dose by Serum from states. Take into account the smaller production capacity of Bharat Biotech.

All this would take India’s vaccine stock by July well over 45 crore vaccines since inception. Additional stocks being imported of Sputnik V, the possibility of US sending in Astrazeneca supplies to India and some other vaccine candidates under trial getting approval by July may mean the total vaccine availability may cross 50 crore, according to government sources.

This article was originally published at moneycontrol