The government expects 2 vaccines to be available by January and 4 other by April

Monday February 15, 2021 at 9:25 pm

New Delhi: As a fight against Covid – 19, the government is pinning hopes for a pair of vaccines to be available by January, one is Oxford- AstraZeneca’s Covishield and the other being Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin. The other four vaccines are likely to be available by the end of April. An official stated that these vaccine drives are heightening the prospect of adequate supplies to include almost 30 crore priority population.

Covishield is expected to get emergency approval in the upcoming days, while Covaxin is likely to get emergency approval by the end of January or early February, provided the shots abide by all the regulatory application. Pfizer is also being considered for emergency usage by the regulator and the government. Time is taken to understand the number of shots to be supplied in order to boost India’s priority vaccination program.

Giving companion to these vaccines, Russia’s Sputnik V is also expected to come into action by April. A senior official reported to TOI, “We are expecting that by April, there will be at least four vaccines in India. So, there should be enough vaccines available to cover the priority group by June – July”.

Pfizer has applied in India. The application is yet to be reviewed in the next few days by the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration (NEGVAC), headed by Niti Aayog member Dr V K Paul and the subject expert committee (SEC) under the Central Drugs Control Organisation. It has already received an authorisation for emergency usage for its vaccine candidate in the UK, Bahrain and other countries as well.

While the government is keen on Pfizer’s application, NEGVAC is much more interested in vaccines candidates being tested in the country, according to a source.

An official stated, “We have vaccines that are being developed on comparatively easier platforms and are being locally manufactured. This makes procurement, supply, distribution and logistics easier for us”.

If sources are to be believed, the government, over a time span of five to six months is expecting to generate 40 crore doses of Covishield vaccine from Serum Institute of India, AstraZeneca’s manufacturing partner for the jab and a conductor of bridge studies in India.

In order to cover up the targeted 30 crore priority population, the government requires almost 60 crore doses of the two – dose vaccine. Once Covaxin and Sputnik V gets its approval, the government is expected to get receive an adequate dose.

Dr Reddy’s Laboratories has started conducting local trial of Sputnik V while Bharat Biotech is conducting phase 3 trials for the locally developed vaccine candidate in India. Cadila Healthcare of Ahmedabad possesses a vaccine candidate against coronavirus that’s in the advanced stage of human trials in India.