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Hindustan Syringes & Medical Devices Ltd is scaling up production of auto-disable syringes for vaccination to an annual capacity of 1 billion in the first half of 2021 from 700 million currently as the country gets ready for the massive demand of covid-19 vaccines.

The company, the world’s largest manufacturers of auto-disable syringes, is also building a stockpile of around 140 million syringes by the end of the year, the company said in a statement on Thursday.

“We have received orders from UNICEF to increase our supply of immunization AD syringes to the organisation to around 300 million," Hindustan Syringes managing director Rajiv Nath said.

“We are waiting on the Indian government to start creating a stockpile of syringes as being done by other Countries," he said, adding that the company can be ready with 100 million of these syringes for Covid-19 vaccines by the end of this year if the government needs it.

Currently, the company has nearly 50 million syringes in stock as standard immunisation injection campaigns had been suspended at onset of the pandemic and are yet to pick up pace after resumption.

The focus has so far been on vaccine developers, especially Serum Institute of India, Bharat Biotech and Zydus Cadila, whose covid-19 vaccine candidates are currently in human trial. There are about half a dozen other companies whose vaccines are currently in the pre-clinical trial stage.

For a country of 1.3 billion population, to reach a herd immunity level of 60%, India would likely have to immunise 780 million people. Apart from mass manufacturing vaccines, the country is also expected to need vials and syringes for dosage, which experts have said will be a major bottleneck for immunisation against the highly contagious respiratory disease.

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