New Delhi: ICMR chief Dr Balram Bhargava on Tuesday said that 1 crore Covid vaccines will be available every day by mid-July or early August. The centre has doubled down on its stated aim of vaccinating the whole country – around 108 crore people – by the end of the year.
While making a point about the large population of India, Dr Bhargava said that patience is required as existing manufacturers scale up capacity, and the newer ones find their feet. For the current vaccine shortage situation, Bhargava said that this shortage is what the people feel if they want to vaccinate the whole country within a month, but since our population is four times that of the US, enough doses for a crore per day will be possible by mid-July or early-August. He also mentioned he does not predict a shortage in the future.
While increased testing and strict containment had helped control the second wave, it was imprudent to rely on such measures as they are not “a sustainable solution”, he said. Emphasizing the promises made by two union ministers and the Centre to the Supreme Court, he said that the whole county will hopefully be vaccinated by December of this year.
India’s vaccine production rate is currently at 8.5 crore doses per month/ 28.33 lakh doses per day, as per data provided by the centre to the Kerala High Court last week. At present, Covishield, Covaxin and Sputnik V are being produced in India.
Adding to these three, Cipla company has sought fast-track approval to bring Moderna’s single-dose booster vaccine to India and vaccines by Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson are also expected to be approved soon.
Vaccine supplies have become a matter of concern between the centre and states, with the latter insisting they do not have sufficient stock, particularly for the 18-44 age group. Some states, like Delhi and Tamil Nadu, have stopped vaccinations, while others, like BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh, have gained global tenders to import vaccines from abroad.
Opposite to this, the centre insists that states have enough stock. Earlier Tuesday it said over 23 crore doses had been provided so far while 1.57 crore doses are still available with states and UTs.
Dr Bhargava added that unlocking of lockdown depends upon three pillars
a) positivity rate of less than five per cent for a week
b) at least 70 per cent of elderly people and those over 45 with co-morbidities must be vaccinated and
c) the community must continue to follow Covid-appropriate behaviour. India on Tuesday morning reported 1.27 lakh fresh new active Covid-19 cases in the past 24 hours- the lowest daily spike since 9th April.