Government puts foot down on Pfizer, Moderna jabs
The cumulative doses administered in the country so far under the nationwide COVID-19 vaccination drive has exceeded 83 crore.
NEW DELHI: Buoyed by the improved supply of Covid-19 vaccines in India over the last few weeks, the Centre has decided to put on hold the ongoing negotiations with Pfizer and Moderna to import their vaccines. The talks have been stuck over demand of indemnity by these firms.
The government has not been agreeing to the demand of the US companies for legal protection in case of any side-effects from the use of their vaccines despite having been in a negotiation with them since May.
Health ministry officials said the government sees no point in going ahead with the talks as supply from local vaccine makers had “considerably improved and will get better in the coming months”. The government has put its foot down as no company has received such protection in India so far, said a source.
In India, 83 lakh vaccine doses have been administered so far. Over the last one month, nearly 75 lakh shots are being administered on a daily basis. For September, the government has projected the availability of nearly 20-22 crore doses while in October, this figure is expected to reach about 30 crore-mark. “From October, the daily vaccinations could go up to 1.2-1.3 crore every day,” N K Arora, head of the Covid-19 working group of National Technical Advisory Group Immunisation had earlier told this newspaper. This was without taking into account vaccines by Pfizer and Moderna, he added.
A note prepared by the Centre last month had projected the production of nearly 78 crore doses of Covishield and Covaxin between September-November. Government sources said vaccines by Zydus Cadila, Biological E, Covovax and Gennova will also be available from October. “We are hoping to get 35-40 crore doses in the next three months which will take the total tally to nearly 200 crore doses by the year-end,” said a source.