Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Tuesday said in Parliament that four more Indian pharma firms are expected to start anti-coronavirus vaccine production by October-November that will accelerate the inoculation drive.
During Question Hour in the Rajya Sabha, Mandaviya said India has administered 47 crore doses of vaccine so far and the Centre is making efforts to inoculate 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.
Production to increase
Monthly production of Covishield is projected to increase to over 120 mn doses and of Covaxin to around 58 mn doses by December, government told Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.
Mandaviya was responding to a question on current capacity to manufacture Covaxin and Covishield in the country.
and the expected capacity going forward from August to December 2021.
"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," the minister said in a written reply.
Mandaviya was speaking amid a din in the house over the Opposition's demand for a discussion on the Pegasus issue and the farm laws.
"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.
The government expects that by October-November, four more Indian pharmaceutical companies will start production of indigenous vaccines that will help meet the domestic demand, he said.
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, the Union Health Minister said.
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."
Unlike BCG (bacille Calmette-Guerin) and polio vaccines that came to India much later after its launch in other parts of the world, the vaccine against coronavirus was made available in India at the same time in the world due to the efforts of the Narendra Modi government, he said
The prime minister took steps, supported scientists and companies to ensure vaccines were available in the country at the earliest, the minister said.
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