Along with changing its Covid-19 vaccination strategy, the central government has prepared a plan to vaccinate all 94 crore people above the age of 18 by December 2021. Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan has said 53.6 crore vaccine doses are available for vaccination till July, while arrangements are being made to have 133.6 crore more doses between August-December to inoculate all 94 crore beneficiaries.
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According to Bhushan, of these 53.6 crore vaccine doses, nearly one-third or 18 crore doses were purchased directly by state governments or hospitals. “From August to December, 50 crore doses of Covishield, 38.6 crore of Covaxin, 30 crore from Biological E, 10 crore of Sputnik V and five crore from Zydus Cadila will be available,” the Union health secretary said.
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With this, the total number of vaccine doses used in the country’s vaccination drive, from January to December, would reach 187.2 crore, which Bhushan said, would be adequate to vaccinate 94 crore people. The number of doses available will further increase if doses from companies like Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson etc. are available, along with those from domestic firm Gennova as well as the nasal spray being developed by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech, the firm behind Covaxin.
The health secretary also said that in the coming days, the pace of vaccination will pick up as 12 crore doses are available for June, as against eight crore in May. On Russia’s Sputnik V, the third vaccine to be granted emergency use authorisation (EUA) after Covishield and Covaxin, will be developed domestically by five more companies, in addition to the two which are already working on the shot.
According to the Centre, chief ministers from 10 states wrote to it in May, requesting for vaccine jabs to be procured by the Union government itself. These are Maharashtra, Punjab, Kerala, Sikkim, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Odisha and Tripura.