2 min read.Updated: 03 Aug 2021, 04:15 PM ISTLivemint, Edited By Sneha
The health minister said that four more Indian pharma firms are expected to start Covid vaccine production by October-November that will accelerate the inoculation drive
The monthly production of Covishield and Covaxin is expected to increase to over 12 crore and 5.8 crore doses, respectively, said Union health minister Mandaviya in Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.
Responding to a question on the current output of the vaccines, the minister said that the production capacity is projected to increase from August to December, as per information by the manufacturers.
"As communicated by the manufacturers, the monthly vaccine production capacity of Covishield is projected to be increased from 110 million doses per month to more than 120 million doses per month and the production capacity of Covaxin is projected to be increased from 25 million doses per month to around 58 million doses per month," he said in a written reply.
The minister said that the department of biotechnology, under the ministry of science and technology, has launched 'Mission Covid Suraksha- the Indian Covid-19 Vaccine Development Mission'.
Under the mission, facility augmentation of Bharat Biotech, one state public sector enterprise and two central public sector enterprises (PSEs) -- Haffkine Biopharmaceutical Corporation Ltd, Mumbai; Indian Immunologicals Limited (IIL), Hyderabad and Bharat Immunologicals Biologicals Limited (BIBCOL), Bulandshahr -- for production of Covaxin have been supported.
In addition, technology transfer of Covaxin production to Gujarat Covid Vaccine Consortium (GCVC), including Hester Biosciences and OmniBRx Biotechnologies Pvt Ltd, led by Gujarat Biotechnology Research Centre (GBRC) of Department of Science and Technology, Government of Gujarat, has also been facilitated, the reply said.
The Centre has also extended financial assistance to one of the domestic manufacturers for 'at-risk manufacturing', advance payment against the supply orders placed with Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech, besides streamlining regulatory norms for approval of vaccines, the reply added.
Mandaviya also said that four more Indian pharma firms are expected to start anti-coronavirus vaccine production by October-November that will accelerate the inoculation drive.
He said that India has administered 47 crore doses so far and the Centre is making efforts to vaccinate the entire country at the earliest.
Even 7 to 9% of the doses that remain unutilised by private hospitals are being used by the government vaccination centres, he added.
"Vaccination drive is going on smoothly... It will get more accelerated in the coming days with the ramping up of production by four more Indian companies," the minister said.
According to Mandaviya, Biologicals E and Novartis vaccines will also be available in the market in the coming days, while Zydus Cadila will soon get an emergency-use nod from an expert committee.
At present, two companies -- Bharat Biotech and Serum Institute -- are supplying the vaccine to the government. Sputnik vaccine is also available and production of which has begun, he added.
To a query by BJD member Amar Patnaik about the vaccine rollout plan for 12-18-year-old and the need for a third or fourth dose, Mandaviya said: "The government's target is to vaccinate the entire population at the earliest and constant efforts are being made to achieve this."
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