The Union Health Ministry has said that the government of India is doing regular interaction with national and international vaccine manufacturers like Pfizer and Moderna to make more COVID-19 vaccines available in the country. The Health Ministry said that the concrete actions are a stern indication that the Government is making all efforts to increase the vaccine production in the country as well as attracting the foreign vaccine manufacturers to supply the required vaccine doses for the national covid vaccination programme. It said, as of date, India is using three vaccines against COVID-19 in its immunization drive. It includes two made in India vaccines – Serum Institute of India’s Covishield and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin who have supplied about 7.92 crore vaccine doses in the month of May 2021.
The Russian Sputnik V is the third vaccine to get approval from the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) for restricted use in emergency situations and is being used in a few private hospitals which are expected to be increased over the coming days.
It said, despite the constraints of availability, India has fared well in covering 20 crore people in only 130 days which is the third largest coverage in the world.
The Ministry further added that the manufacturing capacities have been ramped up and vaccines being a biological product takes time for harvesting and quality testing. This cannot be done overnight to ensure a safe product. Thus, the increase in capacity of manufacturing too needs to be a guided process.
It said, National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC) was already established in August 2020 to provide guidance on all aspects of vaccine introduction including prioritization of beneficiaries, procurement, vaccine selection and its delivery.
The Central Government has been supporting the efforts of States and Union Territories for effective management of COVID patients in vaccination, under the ‘Whole of Government” approach since January this year.