To ramp up the vaccination drive and meet the high demand of doses, production of the Covid-19 vaccine, Covaxin, will soon begin at Uttar Pradesh’s Bulandshahr. Covaxin is an indigenous vaccine being manufactured by Hyderabad-based biotechnology company, Bharat Biotech. The Centre has given nod for the production of Covaxin at Bulandshar plant of Bharat Immunologicals and Biologicals Corporation Limited (BIBCOL).
According to reports, the PSU will manufacture 2 crore doses of Covaxin every month. BIBCOL established in 1989 in Bulandshahar manufactures oral polio vaccines and other immunizers. The Health Ministry will provide Rs 30 crore to BIBCOL for Covaxin production.
Speaking to Financial Express, Sunil Kumar Sharma, the associate vice-president, BIBCOL, said the project is still in its initial stages, and details regarding technology transfer, equipment, and facilities are being worked out. We should have a clearer picture in about a month’s time, and if things go smoothly, the company should start manufacturing the vaccines by September-October this year.
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Notably, the government has roped in other vaccine makers to accelerate the production of vaccines in the fight against Covid-19. Earlier in April, the Centre had granted permission to Haffkine Institute, Mumbai to manufacture Covaxin on the basis of the transfer of technology.
Amid demands to ramp up domestic supply, Serum Institute and Bharat Biotech have submitted to the Centre their production plan for the next four months, informing that they can scale it up to 10 crores and 7.8 crore doses respectively by August, official sources said.
While the vaccination drive appeared to be faltering in several states, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan urged them to first focus more on second dose vaccinations. He stressed that India is the fastest country globally to reach the landmark of administering 17 crore doses in 114 days.
Only three vaccines have been approved to be sold in India — Covaxin, Coveshield, and Sputnik V. Sputnik V has been approved to be imported from Russia by Dr. Reddy’s but is yet to be widely available in the country.