By July, Half of India’s Adult Population Will Get At least One Vaccine Dose

By July, numbers suggest, India will have vaccinated nearly half of its adult population against Covid-19 by administering at least one dose.

India is expected to receive around 30 crore more doses by July. Considering, there are 90 crore adults, and the fact that 15.5 crore people have already taken the jabs, the math adds up in our favour.

Imported stocks of the Russian-made Sputnik V vaccine and some under-development vaccines which may get approval soon will add to these numbers, sources in the know told News18.

India launched one of the biggest Covid-19 inoculation drives in the world in January, of which two phases have concluded. In the third, more liberal phase, the central and state governments along with the private sector are aiming to vaccinate nearly 30 crore more people over the next three months. This could mean significant coverage of people in the 60+ age group, and healthcare and frontline workers with both doses by the end of July, and also of those in the 45+ age group. The 18-44 age group would, however, only see a modest coverage in this timeframe.

Adding the math

Serum Institute on Monday released a statement saying it had received orders for 26 crore doses from the government since January, of which 15 crore doses had been supplied already. The central government said it expects 11 crore doses from SII in May, June and July. As per data available, 14.2 crore doses of Covishield have already been administered to people and another 78 lakh are in stock with the states or in the pipeline to be delivered by the Centre to various states.

SII also said that it will supply 11 crore doses in the second tranche to state governments and private hospitals in “the next few months”. While it is learnt that orders for nearly 35 crore doses have piled up at SII from states and private hospitals, it can only deliver about 11 crore of such doses given its present capacity to produce about 7 crore doses a month. The world’s leading vaccine maker has assured all stakeholders that it hopes to ramp up production to 10 crore doses by July – of these 11 crore has been pledged to the Centre, 11 crore to the states and private hospitals.

Apart from SII, the government has also placed an order for 7.5 crore doses of Covaxin with Bharat Biotech.

Adding the two, about 30 crore doses are yet to be delivered by July. Bharat Biotech has supplied nearly 1.5 crore Covaxin vaccines so far out and the central government is expecting over six crore doses of Covaxin between May and July as the Hyderabad-based lab is increasing its monthly production to 2 crore doses from May. The Centre said that an order of 5 crore vaccines was placed with Bharat Biotech on April 28 for May, June and July and 1.1 crore vaccines are pending from a previous order placed in March.

Some states have also placed orders with Bharat Biotech under the second tranche for about one-two crore given the higher price being charged by Bharat Biotech, Rs 400, against Rs 300 per dose by SII from states.

Outside help

On May 1, 150,000 doses of the Sputnik V vaccine landed in Hyderabad from Russia. Dr Reddys Laboratories, the drugmaker which has tied up with the Russian Direct Investment Fund for the vaccine, said that the initial quantity will be used across different channels as a pilot to line up the supply chain for the larger vaccination program rollout.

Subsequent consignments will arrive in the next few weeks further augmenting India’s mounted battle against the coronavirus.

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