Negotiations are being held with foreign companies to ensure that the vaccine is available to every citizen. Under the new plan, any vaccine approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the World Health Organisation (WHO) can be imported into India. The import permits will be cleared in two days. Also, the Russian Sputnik-V vaccine will be available the following week.
New Delhi – Sufficient number of vaccine doses will be available in India to vaccinate the entire population from August to December. Supply of nearly 2 billion vaccines will be received from Indian and foreign companies. This will remove all the obstacles in the Indian vaccination campaign. Niti Aayog member Dr VK Paul informed that negotiations are being held with various companies for this purpose.
While India is reeling under the massive outburst of the second wave, experts are warning that there will be a third wave coming. Experts are also insisting that if this third wave is to be stopped and the Corona crisis have to be ended, the only way to go is vaccination. The vaccination campaign is the fastest in India. But considering the population of the country and the availability of only two vaccines, there are limitations in increasing the speed of vaccination. The states are complaining of a shortage of vaccines. Questions are being asked, ‘When will the shortage of vaccines end? And why is the government not permitting other companies and institutions to manufacture Covaxine? Dr Paul answered all these questions on Thursday.
A third of the Indian citizens from the 45+ age group has received at least the first dose of the vaccine. 88% of the patients dying due to Coronavirus in India are from the 45+ age group. Dr Paul pointed out that, therefore, the numbers in this age group becomes essential.
India has a population of more than 95 crores in the 18+ age group. For complete vaccination of this age group, 200 crores of vaccine doses will be required. Various government departments and the foreign ministry are in constant contact with Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson and Johnson to increase the availability of the vaccine in the country. Dr Paul said that there is a possibility that these companies will make their vaccines available after July. The manufacturing of the Russian Sputnik-V vaccine will also start by July. Dr Paul informed that this vaccine is being imported and will be available for vaccination from the following week.
At the same time, the Indian vaccine manufacturers, Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech, are increasing their capacities on a big scale. This will result in higher availability of the Indian vaccines, Covishield and Covaxine. 2.16 billion doses of vaccines will be available between August and December. Dr Paul claimed that 750 million doses of Covishield, 550 million doses of Covaxine, 100 million doses of the nasal vaccine developed by Bharat Biotech, 200 million doses of Novavax, 150 million doses of Sputnik-V and 50 million doses of Zydus Cadila vaccine would be available.
Meanwhile, the timing of the onset of the second wave of the Coronavirus pandemic was known, and the government was warning the state government and the public in a way that would not make anyone panic. The Prime Minister had informed the states about this in March. Dr Paul clarified that it could never be predicted how strong the wave of a pandemic will be.