New Delhi: As the country is all set to expand its vaccination drive from next month, India will reportedly receive its first batch of Russia’s ‘Sputnik V’ Covid-19 vaccine against on May 1, as claimed by the head of the Russia’s sovereign wealth fund. However, he did not mention the number of vaccines in the first batch or where they would be made. “The first doses will be delivered on May 1,” Kirill Dmitriev, said, adding that he hoped Russian supplies would help India navigate its way out of the devastating pandemic.
India is badly hit by the second wave of coronavirus has put an immense pressure on its healthcare system. On Monday, India reported more than 352,000 new COVID-19 cases, a global record for the rise in daily cases for the fifth straight day.
Many countries like Britain, Germany, France and the United States have pledged to send urgent medical aid.
Russia’s RDIF sovereign wealth fund, which is marketing ‘Sputnik V’ globally, has already signed agreements with five leading Indian manufacturers for over 850 million doses of the vaccine a year.
The RDIF has said it expects production of the vaccine in India to reach 50 million doses a month by the summer and to rise further.
The Indian government has waived customs duty on the import of COVID vaccines as well as medical grade oxygen and related equipment as the nation battled its worst health crisis.
Other global vaccine manufacturers like ‘Moderna’ and ‘Johnson and Johnson’ have been urged to seek emergency use approval in India.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had last week interacted with vaccine manufacturers of the country via video conference and urged them to continuously scale up their production capacity to inoculate all Indians in the shortest possible time.
The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) had in January given the emergency use authorisation for two COVID-19 vaccines — ‘Covaxin’ of Bharat Biotech and ‘Covishield’ of Oxford-AstraZeneca manufactured by Serum Institute of India in Pune. Earlier this month, the DCGI also gave approval to Russian vaccine Sputnik V.
Indigenous vaccine candidates of Zydus Cadila, Biological E and Gennova are also in advanced clinical trials in India.