Covid vaccines cannot be made available immediately, process takes time: Health Ministry

Not all Covid-19 vaccines produced in India are instantly available for distribution, Lav Agarwal mentioned on Monday. Joint Secretary within the Union Health Ministry, Agarwal was responding to a query in regards to the hole between vaccine manufacturing and availability in India.

Addressing the gap in production and supply, Agarwal mentioned, “We need to understand this in two ways. The first is about the production and then the availability of vaccines in the field. If 6.5 crore [doses] of Covishield vaccines are being produced and an average of 1.5 crore [doses] of Covaxin are being produced this month, if the product is 8 crore vaccines [doses] in total, it is not immediately available.”

“There are processes involved in ensuring its availability. Just after production, stability and sterility studies are done, that takes about one week. Then the vaccine is released in batches. These batches are then sent to the Central Drugs Laboratory (CDL) based in Kasauli in Himachal Pradesh for batch testing. After completion of these tests, they are sent across the supply chain of India,” mentioned Lav Agarwal.

‘States have to make sure final mile connectivity’

He went on to say that it takes not less than 8-10 days for the vaccines to succeed in their vacation spot. The onus is on states to make sure higher availability of vaccines to the final mile centre.

“States have to ensure that the logistics management and inventory management should be strong. For example, when we are giving free vaccines to states from the central government, we also inform states on a daily basis on doses allocated for each state day-on-day,” Lav Agarwal mentioned.

He added, “This is done so that states can micro-plan availability, vaccine centres, slots, etc. Hence, throughout the vaccination supply chain, some are in the pipeline and some are made available in weeks to come. But states must also ensure their availability on the field through their logistics and supply chain.”

Difference between doses produced, doses administered

With states struggling to get doses of Covid-19 vaccines underneath the Centre’s revised procurement coverage, firms are making efforts to ramp up manufacturing. Prompted by an insufficient provide of doses, many states have shut down plenty of vaccination centres.

In an affidavit within the Supreme Court, the central authorities mentioned vaccine makers – Serum Institute and Bharat Biotech – have mentioned they will produce 6.5 crore doses and a couple of crore doses every month, respectively. This means the entire output for every month can be pegged at 8.5 crore doses.

However, data on CoWIN for the month of May reveals that solely 3.4 crore doses had been administered within the first three weeks of May.

This would imply that the distinction between vaccines produced and administered is about 3 crore doses monthly and 9.7 lakh doses per day.

No doses being despatched out of India: SII sources

Sources on the Pune-based Serum Institute of India mentioned no doses of Covid-19 vaccines being produced at its services are being despatched out of India.

“We are producing around 6-6.5 crore a month. Currently, no doses are being sent out of India, even for the GAVI-COVAX alliance. The maximum distribution of doses is happening and will happen in the last week of May as well. As per the government’s policy, 50 per cent of doses are being given to the Centre, 50 per cent to states and private hospitals through the procurement process.”

Panacea Biotec to start manufacturing of Sputnik V vaccine

Two batches of Sputnik V vaccines comprising an estimated 3 lakh doses have landed in India from Russia to this point.

Deepak Sapra, CEO (API and Services), Dr Reddy’s Laboratories informed India Today that the manufacturing of Sputnik V within the nation is not going to start earlier than July 2021. Dr Reddy’s had partnered with the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) to carry the Russian-made coronavirus vaccine to India.

The RDIF introduced on Monday that Indian pharmaceutical agency Panacea Biotec will begin the production of Sputnik V vaccines in India. The first batch of vaccines produced by Panacea Biotec will be shipped to the Gamaleya Institute in Moscow for high quality management. This is identical institute the place the Sputnik V vaccine was developed.

Full-scale manufacturing of the vaccine is predicted to start in India this summer time, mentioned RDIF. In April of this yr, the RDIF had mentioned that Panacea Biotec plans to supply 100 million doses of Sputnik V yearly.

Opposition questions hole between vaccine manufacturing, distribution

The opposition has been questioning the hole between manufacturing and distribution of Covid-19 vaccines in India.

Referring to the identical, Congress MP Rahul Gandhi mentioned in a tweet, “Vaccination is the key to controlling the pandemic but GOI doesn’t seem to care.”

In a tweet, AIMIM MP Asaduddin Owaisi mentioned on Monday, “Everyday 1000000 vaccine doses are “lacking”. Is this happening because Modi has reserved 25% vaccines for private sector? Or because he’s forcing people to register on CoWin rather than allow walk-in vaccination?”

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