The Centre on Thursday restated that any vaccine which is approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the World Health Organization (WHO) will be made available to India. The announcement was made by the head of the National Expert Group on vaccines, VK Paul at a press conference.
Dr. Paul said that since no import license for the vaccines is pending, it will be granted within a span of 1-2 days. Earlier in April, the Indian government had fast-tracked approvals for covid-19 vaccine use in the US, the UK, EU, and Japan.
India, the largest manufacturer of vaccines worldwide, exported more than 65 million doses of covid-19 vaccines. But when the domestic infection rates surged, the supplies were slowed down.
The Ministry of External Affairs along with the Department of Biotechnology and other departments have been in touch with vaccine manufacturers such as Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, and Pfizer said, Dr. Paul.
The vaccine developers have been officially asked to send doses to or manufacture in India itself. They will be provided with partners to assist them in the same. The companies, in response, have informed that since they are working at their own pace, the vaccine availability would be talked about in Q3 of 2021.
On April 26, the AIADMK government had given approval to the Sterlite copper smelter plant to produce medical oxygen at its facility for a four-period month. The facility was provided in Tuticorin.
Dr. Paul, who is also a member of NITI Aayog said that hopefully, the companies will step forward to increase availability in India. Giving an update about the benchmark achieved by India, he said that till now nearly 18 crore doses of Covid vaccine have been administered in the country. With this India stands in the third position of vaccine doses, the US being at the top with 26 crore doses.
He further added that around 216 crore doses of vaccines will be manufactured in India between the months of August and December.
Meanwhile, India is currently facing vaccine shortages with many states stalling or cutting back on plans to vaccinate people between the age group of 18-45. So far, eleven states have decided to opt out of floating of global tenders to get Covid-19 vaccines. These are the states who have requested the Centre to change its current vaccination policy and give permission to other manufacturers for manufacturing covid-19 vaccines to meet the target of India’s population.
Covishield by AstraZeneca and Covaxin by Bharat Biotech has been in use for India’s nationwide vaccination drive. On Thursday, it was said that Russia’s Sputnik V – the vaccine used for emergency use, will now be available in the market from next week.