NITI Aayog said that the Department of Biotechnology and the External Affairs Ministry have been in touch with Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson and Johnson to make vaccine doses available for Indian citizens
Among the three US-based coronavirus vaccine manufacturing companies, only Johnson & Johnson accepted Centre's offer
With India facing an acute shortage of vaccines due to ferocious second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Centre on Thursday said Pfizer and Moderna's coronavirus vaccines might become available in the country during the third quarter of the 2021.
In a media briefing, Dr VK Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog said that Departent of Biotechnology, and the External Affairs Ministry have been in touch with Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson and Johnson to make available vaccine doses to Indian citizens.
Paul said that the Centre asked the US-based Covid-19 vaccine manufacturing firms, " If they'd like to send doses to or manufacture in India, we'll find partners & assist".
Paul underscored that "They (Pfizer and Moderna) had said that they are working in their own way and they would talk of vaccine availability in Q3, in 2021".
He added that the Government of India is connected with all three Covid-19 vaccine-making firms . "I'm hopeful that they'll step forward to increase availability in India," he added.
According to Paul, among the three US-based coronavirus vaccine manufacturing companies, only Johnson & Johnson accepted Centre's offer. "We invite them to manufacture here along with our companies. Johnson & Johnson did a good job, they accepted this offer under Quad," Paul said on Thursday.
Yesterday, US Embassy said that the Biden administration is considering joint production of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine in India by tying up with like Serum Institute of India.
He added that "Any vaccine that is approved by FDA and the World Health Organization (WHO) can come to India. The import license will be granted within 1-2 days".
Meanwhile, Paul announced that Russia's Sputnik V will be available in markets across the country from early next week.
Several states in the country have suspended the coronavirus vaccination drive for the 18 to 44 age group as they have run out of stock. Besides, other states' governments have floated a tender to import vaccines.
States like Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Delhi have opted for global tenders to meet their needs.
Uttarakhand officials said the state will import 20 lakh doses of Sputnik vaccine over the next two months.
Cumulatively, India's vaccination coverage stands at 17.72 Crores as of May 13 which is equivalent to 13.55% (approx) of India's 1.3 billion people.
Amid demands to ramp up domestic supply, Serum Institute and Bharat Biotech have submitted to the Centre their production plan for the next four months, informing that they can scale it up to 10 crore and 7.8 crore doses respectively by August, official sources said.
Curently, Bharat Biotech's Covaxin and Oxford-AstraZeneca's Covishield are the only two vaccines are being used in India's inoculation drive against the coronavirus.
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