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Govt plans to raise Covaxin’s monthly production to 10 cr doses : VK Paul

By Priyanka Verma 
Updated Date

The Centre on Saturday stated that the plan is to ramp up the production of Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin in coming months. Currently, 1.5 crore doses are being produced every month and the intent is to increase the production to 10 crore doses monthly, the news agency ANI reported.

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Dr. VK Paul, Member-Health, Niti Aayog, “Around 1.5 crore doses of Covaxin are being produced per month. The plan is to ramp up the production to 10 crore doses per month.”

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Meanwhile, the Ministry of Science and Technology, earlier today, announced to provide a grant to increase the production of the indigenous vaccine.

In an official statement, the ministry said, “To augment the capacity of Indigenous production of Covaxin under the Mission, the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India in April, 2021 provided financial support as Grant to vaccine manufacturing facilities for enhanced production capacities, which is expected to reach more than 10 crore doses per month by September, 2021.”

“As a part of this augmentation plan, capacities of Bharat Biotech Limited, Hyderabad as well as other public sector manufactures are being upgraded with required infrastructure and technology. Financial support is being provided as grant from GoI to the tune of approx. ₹65 crore to Bharat Biotech’s new Bangalore facility which is being repurposed to increase the capacity of vaccine production,” it added.

Earlier this week, Paul informed that Bharat Biotech is ready to share its technology with other manufacturers to ramp up the production amid the cry of vaccine shortage. Paul noted, “People say that Covaxin be given to other companies for manufacturing. I am happy to say that Covaxin manufacturing company (Bharat Biotech) has welcomed this when we discussed it with them. Under this vaccine live virus is inactivated & this is done only in BSL3 labs.”

“Not every company has this. We give an open invitation to companies who want to do this. Companies that want to manufacture Covaxin, should do it together. Govt will assist so that capacity is increased,” he said.

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Taking the cue, Paul today said, “Tie-ups and technology transfer are complex process. Government is exploring areas or ways to scale up vaccine production.”

Decision to increase the gap between 2 doses of Covishield was not taken under pressure

Paul on Saturday also stated that the decision to increase the gap between 2 doses of Covishield to 12 weeks was not taken under pressure or due to shortage of doses.

The Centre on Thursday accepted the Covid-19 Working Group’s recommendation for extending the gap between the two doses of the Covishield. The decision was taken based on a study published in the international medical journal The Lancet on February 19 that claimed a 26.2% increase – from 55.1% to 81.3% – if doses were spaced 12 or more weeks apart.

Accordingly Union health ministry said on Thursday, “Based on the available real-life evidences, particularly from the UK, the Covid-19 Working Group agreed for increasing the dosing interval to 12-16 weeks between two doses of Covishield vaccine.”

Single-dose vaccination coverage stands at 89% for healthcare workers and 82% for frontline workers

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Paul also clarified that single-dose vaccination coverage for healthcare workers stands at 89% and it should be taken to above 95%. He further noted, the single-dose vaccination coverage for frontline workers stands at 82%.

He said, “Single-dose vaccination coverage among healthcare workers is 89% at the national level. It’s 95% in Rajasthan, 96% in Madhya Pradesh & 99% in Chhattisgarh. In Delhi, it stands at 78%, which is 11% below the national average. It should be taken to above 95%.”

“Overall single-dose vaccination coverage among frontline workers stands at 82% in the country. It is 93% in Gujarat, 91% in Rajasthan, & 90% in Madhya Pradesh — well above the national average. In Delhi, it stands at 80%,” he added.

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