NEW DELHI: There has been no delay in entering into purchase agreements with domestic Covid vaccine manufacturers and advance payments have also been made for the supply orders placed with them, the government informed Parliament on Friday.
In a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha from Congress member Rahul Gandhi and TMC's Mala Roy, Minister of State for Health Bharati Pravin Pawar said a total of 135 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses are expected to be available between August and December, and though no fixed timeline can be indicated for the completion of the vaccination drive, it is expected that all beneficiaries aged 18 years and above will be inoculated by December.
On the quantum of funds spent on the vaccination programme, she said Rs 9,725.15 crore have so far been spent on it, including for procurement of vaccines and the operational cost for vaccination.
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On whether the government proposes to complete the exercise of full Covid vaccination of all adults by the end of the year, Pawar said it is an ongoing and dynamic process, which is being guided by the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC) on the basis of concurrent scientific evidence.
"In view of the dynamic and evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, no fixed timeline at present can be indicated for the completion of the vaccination drive, however, it is expected that beneficiaries aged 18 years and above will be vaccinated by December 2021," she said.
On whether the government has taken note of a significant delay in entering into advance purchase agreements with vaccine manufacturers, thereby adversely affecting the pace of the vaccine rollout, the minister said, "There has been no delay in entering into purchase agreements with the domestic vaccine manufacturers.
Advance payments have also been made to the manufacturers for the supply orders placed with them.