The Centre on Thursday has placed a new purchase order with the Serum Institute of India (SII) for the supply of 66 crore doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine Covishield to be supplied by December, sources said on Thursday.
The development comes after Prakash Kumar Singh, the Director, Government and Regulatory Affairs at SII, informed the Union Health Ministry that the firm would be able to supply 20.29 crore doses of Covishied in the month of September.
The Pune-based firm has enhanced the manufacturing capacity of Covishield to more than 20 crore doses per month. The Health Ministry had in July placed an order with Bharat Biotech for the supply of 28.50 crore doses of Covaxin, but the firm has not been able to start the supply of those yet, an official source said.
Bharat Biotech is close to completing the supply of five crore doses of Covaxin for which the Health Ministry had placed an order on March 12, the source said. The source added that the ministry had placed an order for 37.50 crore doses of Covishield between August to December and the SII is going to complete this suppl by mid-September.
On August 31, as the cumulative COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the country crossed the 65-crore mark, Singh in his communication to NITI Aayog member (Health) Dr V K Paul and Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan had mentioned that SII alone has supplied more than 60 crore doses of Covishield Of these 60 crore doses, 2.1 crore were provided in January, 2.5 crore in February, over 4.73 crore in March, more than 6.25 crore in April, over 5.96 crore in May, more than 9.68 crore in June, over 12.37 crore in July and more than 16.92 crore in August, he had said. In May, Singh had written a letter to Union Home Minister Amit Shah mentioning that its employees have been working round the clock in spite of various challenges because of the pandemic. "We are pleased to inform that in the month of June we will be able to manufacture and supply nine to 10 crore doses of our Covishield vaccine to the country as compared to our production capacity of 6.5 crore doses in May,” he had said in the letter.
"Serum Institute of India has always been sincerely concerned about the protection of the citizens of our country and world at large from COVID-19. Under the leadership of our CEO, Adar C Poonawalla, our team have been working relentlessly shoulder to shoulder with our government to fight the COVID-19 pandemic,” he had said.
(With PTI inputs)
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