The government on May 3, 2021, rubbished the allegations that it has not placed any fresh order COVID-19 vaccine for the nationwide vaccination programme.
“There have been some media reports alleging that the Centre has not placed any fresh order for Covid-19 vaccines. The news reports suggest that the last order placed with the two vaccine makers (100 million doses with SII and 20 million doses with Bharat Biotech) was in March 2021. These media reports are completely incorrect, and are not based on facts,” the Union health ministry said.
According to the government, a total of Rs 1,732 cr (after TDS ₹1699.50 cr) was given to the Serum Institute of India (SII) on April 28, 2021. The payment was received by them on April 28, 20214, for 110 million doses of Covshield. Against 100 million dose order, 87.5 million doses have been delivered till today May 3, 2021.
The government also said that Rs 787.50 cr (after TDS 772.50 cr) was given to Bharat Biotech India Ltd on April 28, 2021. The payment was made against 50 million Covaxin doses during May, June and July. Against the last order of 20 million Covaxine doses, 8.8 million doses have been delivered till today May 3, 2021.
“Hence, to say that fresh orders have not been placed by Government of India is not correct,” the ministry said.
“Under the Liberalised Pricing & Accelerated National Covid-19 Vaccination Strategy, Government of India would continue to procure its share of 50% of the monthly Central Drugs Laboratory (CDL) cleared vaccines, and would continue to make it available to the state governments totally free of cost as was being done earlier,” further read the health ministry statement.
“We endorse this statement, & the authenticity of the information. We have been working closely with the Government of India for the past year & thank it for its support. We remain committed to ramping up our vaccine production to save every life we can,” it read.
“Vaccine manufacturing is a specialised process, it is therefore not possible to ramp up production overnight. We also need to understand that the population of India is huge and to produce enough doses for all adults is not an easy task. Even the most advanced countries and companies struggling in relatively smaller populations,” Poonawalla said in a statement.
“Secondly, we have been working closely with the Government of India since April last year. We have got all kinds of support, be it scientific, regulatory and financial. As of today, we received total orders of over 260 million (26 crore) doses, of which we supplied more than 150 million (15 crore) doses. We have also got 100% advance of ₹1732.50 crore by GOI for the next tranche of 110 million (11 crore) doses in the next few months. Another 110 million (11 crore) doses would be supplied in the second channel for states and private hospitals in the next few months,” the statement said.
“Lastly, we understand that everyone wants the vaccine to be available in the quickest possible time. That is our endeavour, too, and we are making every effort to achieve that. We shall work even harder and strengthen India’s fight against Covid-19,” he further said.