NEW DELHI: Union Minister Nitin Gadkari on Tuesday said that more pharma companies should be allowed to manufacture the COVID-19 vaccine in the country during the pandemic to scale up production.
While addressing a meeting via video conferencing Gadkari said, "If the demand of vaccine is more than the supply, it creates the problem. So, instead of one company, let 10 more companies be given the license to manufacture the vaccine."
"There are 2-3 laboratories in every state. They should be given the formula to produce the COVID-19 vaccines. They can give royalty," Gadkari said.
"Let them supply in the country and later if there is surplus, they may export. It can be done in 15-20 days," he added.
Currently, only two firms - Bharat Biotech and Serum Institute of India - are manufacturing COVID vaccines in the country and only three vaccines have so far been approved to be sold in India --- COVAXIN, COVESHIELD and Sputnik V.
Many states have complained about the shortage of COVID-19 vaccines.
Reacting to Gadkari's comment on the shortage of the COVID-19 vaccines, national spokesperson of Congress Jaiveer Shergill said that the whole nation is demanding vaccines, BJP is supplying fake tool kits.
"Mr Gadkari says to solve Vaccine demand-supply issue more manufacturing licenses should be given. The problem is-Nation is demanding vaccines, BJP is supplying fake tool kits. Good to know at least one BJP minister is waking up to reality - how many more have to die to wake up the system," Shergill tweeted.
A total of 18,58,09,302 doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered across the country since the vaccination drive began on January 16.
According to official data, 2,67,334 fresh COVID-19 cases were recorded during a 24-hour period.
"The cumulative caseload stands at 2,54,96,330, including 32,26,719 active cases, 2,19,86,363 recoveries and 2,83,248 deaths," the Union Health Ministry said.