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With domestic manufacturing picking up pace, India unlikely to buy Pfizer, Moderna vaccines for now: Sources


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NEW DELHI: India is unlikely to buy Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines for now as the domestic manufacturing of anti-coronavirus jabs has picked up pace, sources said with the total doses administered in the country crossing 83 crore on Wednesday.

Though there is no official word, the sources said the government is not ready to give in to the indemnity demands of the US drug manufacturers against liabilities in case of adverse effects.

The Pune-based pharmaceutical company Serum Institute of India has enhanced the manufacturing capacity of Covishield to more than 20 crore doses per month and has informed the Centre that it will be able to supply around 22 crore doses in October.

Also, Bharat Biotech is currently producing nearly 3 crores doses of Covaxin each month and its production is likely to be ramped up to 5 crores in the coming months.

"In the initial days of the vaccination drive, there was requirement of jabs, but that has been met with the ramping up of domestic production. Also, these indigenously produced vaccines are much more affordable and do not have special cold chain requirements," a source told PTI.

Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Monday announced that India will resume export of surplus COVID-19 vaccines in the fourth quarter of 2021 under the 'Vaccine Maitri' programme and to meet its commitment to the COVAX global pool, but vaccinating its own citizens remains the topmost priority of the government.

Talking about the expected production and supply trends in the coming months, he said the government will receive over 30 crore doses of COVID-19 vaccines in October and over 100 crore doses in the coming quarter from October-December.

The cumulative doses administered in the country so far under the nationwide COVID-19 vaccination drive has exceeded 83 crore.

According to official sources, over 22 per cent of India's adult population have received both doses of vaccine and 65 per cent have got at least one dose.

Of all the vaccine doses administered, around 88.45 per cent are Covishield, nearly 11.44 per cent Covaxin and less than one per cent Sputnik V.

India on September 17 administered a record number of over 2.50 crore vaccine doses on the occasion of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 71st birthday.

The daily COVID-19 vaccination in the country was over 1 crore on September 6, August 31 and August 27.

India took 85 days to touch the 10-crore vaccination mark, 45 more days to cross the 20-crore mark and 29 more days to reach the 30-crore mark, according to the ministry.

The country took 24 days to reach 40 crore from 30 crore doses and then 20 more days to cross the 50-crore vaccination mark on August 6, it said.

It took 19 more days to go past the 60-crore mark and took only 13 days to reach 70 crore from 60 crore on September 7.

It then took just 11 days to reach 80 crore from 70 crore.

(THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)