Home / News / India /  Dr Reddy’s gets 150,000 Sputnik V doses, more shipments expected in a few weeks

NEW DELHI: India on Saturday received the first consignment of 150,000 Sputnik V doses in Hyderabad, which will be rolled out across "different channels" following necessary clearances from the Indian drug regulatory machinery, the vaccine’s distributor in the country, Dr Reddy’s Laboratories, said.

“We are pleased to announce that the first consignment of 150,000 doses of the Sputnik V vaccine has landed in Hyderabad from Russia," Dr Reddy’s said in a statement.

Discussions over pricing, however, are still ongoing between Dr Reddy’s and the government, a person aware of the development said, on condition of anonymity.

More shipments of the Russian vaccine will arrive over the next few weeks and will be more significant in size, the person said.

“This initial quantity will be used across different channels as a pilot to line up our supply chain for the larger vaccination program rollout," the company said.

The vaccine was developed by Moscow’s Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology and is being globally commercialised by the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF).

Dr Reddy’s initially expected to begin importing Sputnik V from its partner, the RDIF, towards the end of May, but later the shipments were preponed to 1 May.

The preponed shipments come at a time when India is seeing a record surge in cases of covid-19 in the second wave, with over 350,000 cases being confirmed each day for much of the last week, and death toll crossing the 3,500-mark for the past three days.

With the second wave causing the surge in cases, the government expanded the covid-19 immunisation drive to cover all adults from today. Under phase 3 of the covid-19 immunisation drive, the Central government will provide free vaccines to healthcare and other frontline workers as well as people above 45 years of age, while states and private hospitals are allowing vaccination of all adults free of cost.

However, in April, when only the priority groups were being vaccinated, the demand was already outpacing the supply, with over 80 million doses that were administered while Serum Institute of India’s and Bharat Biotech International’s capacities to make Covishield and Covaxin together was about 70-80 million per month. The shortage is expected to become more acute with the expanded drive, with states delaying the launch of vaccination of all adults from today’s timeline.

The supply of 150,000 doses may be insufficient for now as India had been vaccinating about 3 million people a day in April alone, when only the priority groups were eligible.

As per RDIF’s agreement with DRL, the Russian sovereign wealth fund is expected to supply 250 million doses of Sputnik V to the Hyderabad-headquartered drug maker.

Initial shipments are expected to be limited as they would be imported from Russia, and supply would ramp up when domestic production of Sputnik V begins. RDIF also has tie ups with various Indian manufacturers to make 850 million doses of this vaccine in the country.

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