15th April, 2021
Despite some countries including the United States and Britain have approved and allowed by the World Health Organization (WHO) to allow emergency use of the foreign vaccine in the country, there is no hope of an immediate increase in vaccine supplies. Supply of imported Sputnik-V is expected to begin in May, but the quantity will also be limited. Apart from this, the production of Bharat Biotech and Serum Institute is also expected to increase from June itself.
Ongoing talks to increase vaccine production, also open doors for foreign vaccine
Actually, Serum Institute and Bharat Biotech are currently producing about seven crore doses of Corona vaccine every month, or about 23 lakh doses per day. Whereas, on an average of 3.5 lakh vaccines are being applied per day, the production is very low as compared to that. The government is working on several levels to overcome this deficiency. On the one hand, negotiations are on to increase production from the India Biotech and Serum Institute, on the other hand India's doors have been opened for foreign vaccines.
Vaccine supply will be limited till May: Health Ministry
A senior health ministry official admitted that despite all efforts, the vaccine supply may be limited until May. For the production in India of Sputnik-V, the Russian Direct Investment Fund has entered into an agreement to produce 85 crore doses annually with three Indian companies.
Sputnik-V will start production by June, Serum and Bharat Biotech will increase production capacity
If all goes well, Sputnik-V will start production in Indian companies by June. Similarly, Bharat Biotech has also assured to increase its production capacity from 70 lakh doses to one crore 40 lakhs every month in June. At the same time, the Serum Institute has claimed to have achieved a production capacity of 11 crore doses every month by August.
No clarity on supply of foreign vaccine
Foreign companies such as Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson have been allowed to allow emergency use of the vaccine as a game-changer, but there is still no clarity on the supply of all these vaccines. Of these, only Pfizer had expressed a desire to supply the vaccine in India and also applied to allow emergency use, But in February, it withdrew its application due to the condition of limited trial in India. The second biggest problem is the limited production of these vaccines and the agreements already in place with various countries for supply. As of now, it is not clear how much vaccine these companies have available after completing the prior agreement and what will be the supply and price arrangement in India. A senior Health Ministry official said that foreign companies would prefer to manufacture and supply their vaccines in India. This will also reduce costs and speed up production.