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Centre taking up Covaxin supply issues with Bharat Biotech

The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare is looking into delays in supply of Covaxin COVID-19 vaccine doses and has discussed the issue with the jab’s manufacturer, Bharat Biotech, the Hindustan Times reported.

However, the news report suggested that it was unclear if Bharat Biotech would be able to meet the target of 400 million doses it is expected to deliver between August and December, as seen in the government’s vaccine availability projection.

The newspaper quoted a senior government official who is aware of the matter as saying that the Hyderabad-based company will fulfil their supply obligations as of now, adding that the “health secretary has personally reviewed the matter”.

Bharat Biotech is said to have supplied 2.8 crore doses to the union government till June 12. That figure is only a fraction of the 8-crore dose purchase order the Centre has placed, according to the government’s affidavit in the Supreme Court.

To boost the production of the indigenous jab, the company is aiming to operationalise more facilities in Gujarat and Karnataka over the next two months.

More than 32.3 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses were administered in India as of June 28. However, a wide majority of them were shots of Covishield, the jab produced by the Serum Institute of India (SII).

While Covaxin has received an emergency use authorisation in multiple countries including Iran and Mexico, it is currently in the process of applying for the World Health Organization (WHO)’s approval.

Rapid mass vaccination is being seen as the best way to avert a possible third wave of novel coronavirus infections and return to some level of normalcy. Currently, not more than 5.6 crore people in India are fully vaccinated. Moneycontrol

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