COVID-19 vaccine: Maharashtra govt gives Rs 94 crore to Haffkine Bio Pharma from contingency fund

Maharashtra government today cleared the Mumbai-based pharmaceutical company Haffkine Bio Pharma Corporation to produce the COVID-19 vaccine. The state government has given an amount of Rs 94 crore to the pharmaceutical company from the contingency fund. Besides, the Centre has provided aid of Rs 87 crore to it.

Bharat Biotech shall transfer the technology to produce Covaxin to Haffkine Corporation and the manufacturing is expected to commence from March 2022.

Two weeks ago the Centre had given nod to the Maharashtra-run Haffkine Bio-Pharmaceutical Corporation for the production of Covaxin. It also approved its proposal to provide funds worth Rs 87 crore required for the seed bank, the construction of building and the procurement of specialised equipment. Haffkine had sent the proposal in January this year and it has been approved by a high-level committee attached to the Department of Biotechnology.

Haffkine Bio-Pharmaceutical Corporation MD Sandeep Rathod had told The Free Press Journal, “The vaccine is a biological product and for its production, the construction of a building has been done as per the Centre’s norms, especially for maintaining a certain temperature level. Haffkine can rope in an agency for setting up a pre-fabricated structure in eight to ten months and later complete other works on a war footing. So, the production of Covaxin will not be started immediately but we hope to launch it by March 2022. Haffkine will produce 22.8 crore doses annually.” He said the vaccine could not be put to use immediately but could be administered later also, as other vaccines are being used. “The vaccine produced by Haffkine will be for long-term use and at an affordable price,” said Rathod.

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and indicated that the vaccine production can start in the state at a higher scale.

During his visit to Haffkine on March 21, Thackeray had said it could produce 28 crore vaccines between April 1, 2021 and March 2022. The CM had further stated that Haffkine and Bharat Biotech would jointly produce Covaxin with the establishment of a new plant on the corporation’s Parel premises in south central Mumbai at a cost of Rs 154 crore. Haffkine had already held preliminary talks with Bharat Biotech for the technology transfer.

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