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More than 2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines to become available: Govt

Around 750 million doses of Covishield and 550 million doses of Covaxin would be available in the period between August and December, said Niti Aayog member Dr VK Paul.

May 14, 2021 / 09:16 AM IST
Representative Image )(Source: Shutterstock)

Representative Image )(Source: Shutterstock)

Over two billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines will be available in India between August and December this year, said Dr VK Paul, member of Niti Aayog - the government's topmost think-tank.

Of the two billion doses, the bulk of 750 million (75 crore) doses would comprise of Covishield, Dr Paul said. The vaccine is currently being produced by the Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII).

Around 550 million (55 crore) doses of Covaxin, made by Hyderabad's Bharat Biotech Limited, would also be available in the period, Dr Paul added.

The central government has so far procured 35.6 crore vaccine doses, including both Covishield and Covaxin, the Health Ministry said in the press briefing. Another 16 crore doses are in pipeline to the states and private hospitals, it added.

Also Read: Sputnik V vaccines to be available in market 'next week'

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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The Centre has also reached out to global manufacturers to ramp up the vaccine supply, Dr Paul claimed, adding that the government will enable foreign vaccine makers to obtain expeditious approvals from national regulators.
Emerging Vaccine AvailabilityProduction/Availability (August-December 2021)Manufacturer in India
Covishield75 croreSerum Institute of India
Covaxin55 croreBharat Biotech
Bio E sub vaccine30 croreBiological E
Zydus Cadila DNA vaccine5 croreZydus Cadila
Novavax vaccine20 croreSerum Institute of India
BB Nasal vaccine10 crore--
Genova mRNA vaccine6 crore--
Sputnik vaccine15.6 croreDr Reddy’s Laboratory
TOTAL216 crore 
Source: PIB/Twitter

"Department of Biotechnology, other departments concerned, the MEA (Ministry of External Affairs) have been in touch with Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson from beginning. They were officially asked if they'd like to send doses to or manufacture in India, we'll find partners and assist," news agency ANI quoted Dr Paul as saying.

"They had said that they are working in their own way and they would talk of vaccine availability in Q3, in 2021. We are connected to them. I'm hopeful that they'll step forward to increase availability in India," he said.

"We invite them to manufacture here along with our companies. Johnson & Johnson did a good job, they accepted this offer under Quad," Dr Paul further added.

Also Read: COVID-19 crisis | Uttar Pradesh to spend up to $1 billion to buy vaccines, in talks with Pfizer, Sputnik V

The top government official also confirmed that doses of Sputnik V, the vaccine developed by Russia's Gamaleya Institute, has reached India and "we are hopeful that it would be available in the market next week".

The announcement of over two billion vaccine doses to be made available in the next few months comes amid reports of shortage in several parts of the country. A number of states have paused the inoculation drive for the 18-44 age group to prioritise the available stock for the 45-plus age group.

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Moneycontrol News
first published: May 13, 2021 05:55 pm

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