India will start vaccinating its citizens with the Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine from next months, said the Indian Ambassador to Russia on Thursday.
Over 1.5-2 lakh doses of Russian Covid-19 vaccine Sputnik V will be provided to India in early part of May. It will be increased by middle or later part of May. It will be increased to 5 million in June and so forward,” Venkatesh Varma said.
The statement comes at a time when several states have flagged the issue of insufficient stock of vaccines and indicated that they may miss the 1 May launch of phase-3 of the vaccination drive.
Claiming that shortage of Covid-19 jabs may disrupt plans to immunize all adults, Maharashtra, Punjab, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Telengana have said the process to vaccinate people in the 18-44 age group will begin once they get a substantial number of vaccines from pharmaceutical companies.
India has also seen a huge spike in Covid-19 cases as it reels under a raging second wave.
As many as 3,86,829 more people tested positive for Covid-19 in the last 24 hours, taking the cumulative cases to 1,87,62,976, the Union health ministry said on Friday morning.
The active tally in India is inching towards the 32-lakh mark as it stands at 31,70,228. The number was 30,84,814 on Thursday.
Approval for Sputnik V
Russia’s Sputnik V got approval from the Subject expert committee (SEC) for Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA) on 12 April, making it the third Covid-19 vaccine to get clearance in India.
India has become the 60th country to authorise the use of the Sputnik V vaccine against coronavirus. The vaccine is now approved in countries with a total population of 3 billion, or 40 % of the world’s population.
Sputnik V uses two different vectors for the two shots in a course of vaccination. The efficacy of Sputnik V was determined to be 91.6 per cent as per a published article in the Lancet, one of the world’s oldest and most respected medical journals.
Delivery in India
The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) recently aid it will export the first batch of Sputnik V vaccine to India from 1 May.
“The first doses will be delivered on 1 May,” RDIF chief executive officer Kirill Dmitriev said.
However, a spokesperson for the company’s partner in India, Dr Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd, said it is not providing a specific date for the launch, adding that while the company had earlier indicated that delivery will start from the end of May, that timeline has now been shifted to anytime in May.
“Discussions over pricing and the number of doses are still ongoing between Dr Reddy’s, RDIF and the government,” the spokesperson said.
Russia’s Sputnik V, the world’s first vaccine registered against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), has been recommended for emergency use by experts in India, which is seeing a worrying spike in cases linked to the viral infection.