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With several Indian states complaining of shortage of COVID-19 vaccines, Serum Institute and Bharat Biotech on Wednesday informed the Centre that they would be increasing their production in the coming months. Accordingly, both the companies today submitted their production plan to the Centre for the next four months. Serum said it would ramp production to 10 crore by August, while Bharat Biotech promised 7.8 crore monthly production, news agency PTI reported.

PTI sources revealed the Union Health Ministry and the office of Drugs Controller General of India had sought from both the firms their production plan for June, July, August and September. Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech's Covaxin and Oxford-AstraZeneca's Covishield, which is manufactured by Pune-based Serum Institute of India, are the two vaccines that are being used for vaccination against COVID-19 in India.

Dr V Krishna Mohan, the Whole-time Director of Bharat Biotech, is learnt to have conveyed to the government that the production of Covaxin would be raised to 3.32 crore in July, and to 7.82 crore in August which will be maintained in September too.

Similarly, Prakash Kumar Singh, Director, Government and Regulatory Affairs at Serum Institute of India, has communicated that the production of Covishield would be ramped up to 10 crore doses each in August and will be maintained at that level in September, the official sources said.

“We confirm that the quantities mentioned will be fulfilled under all circumstances. Also, we are trying our best by utilising all our resources to increase our production capacity of Covishield. In view of this, the production during June and July may also increase by some quantity," Singh said in a communique to the health ministry.

Several states are complaining of shortage of vaccine

Several states and UTs including Delhi, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Telangana have decided to opt for global tenders for procurement of anti-coronavirus shots with the domestic supply falling short to meet the rising demand.

Delhi's Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Wednesday said Bharat Biotech has informed the Delhi government that it cannot provide "additional" Covaxin doses to the national capital. The stock of Covaxin in Delhi has finished and as a result around 100 vaccination centres set up in 17 schools have been closed, he said.

Meanwhile, Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan said "There are approximately 1.13 cr people above 45 yrs of age here. Centre provides vaccines for them and we need 2.26 cr doses to administer both jabs. We have repeatedly requested Centre to provide adequate vaccine stock but requirement hasn't been met."

The Ministry of Science & Technology had said in a statement on April 16 that the production capacity of indigenously developed Covaxin will be doubled by May-June 2021 and then increased nearly 6-7 fold by July-August 2021.

(With inputs from agencies)

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