Serum Institute of India (SII) has informed the Centre that it will be able to supply around 20 crore doses of COVID-19 vaccine Covishield in September itself to Government to India and private hospitals, official sources said.
The Pune-based SII has already supplied 12 crore doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in August, they said.
Director, Government and Regulatory Affairs at SII, Prakash Kumar Singh has communicated to the Union Health Ministry that the firm has further enhanced its production capacity and it will be able to supply approximately 20 crore doses of Covishield in September itself to Government of India and private hospitals, an official source said.
In a production plan submitted to the Centre in May, SII's director had communicated that the production of Covishield would be ramped up to 10 crore each in August and September, sources had said.
Later in May-end, Singh communicated to Union Home Minister Amit Shah that Covishield production would be ramped up to 10 crore doses in June.
Frequently Asked Questions
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.
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.
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.
"We are committed to enhancing the production capacity of our Covishield vaccine and have been working round-the-clock in spite of various challenges being faced by us because of COVID-19 pandemic.
"We are pleased to inform that in the month of June we will be able to manufacture and supply nine to 10 crore doses of our Covishield vaccine to our country as compared to our present production capacity of 6.5 crore doses in May," he had said in a communication to Shah.Follow our full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic here.