India might get a Covid vaccine by around March 2021, revealed Dr. Suresh Jadhav, executive director, Serum Institute of India.
India will get 60-70 million doses of Oxford vaccine Covishield by December but the vaccines will come to the market in March 2021 after the clearance of licensing,” he said while addressing the India Vaccine Accessibility E-Summit HEAL-Thy Samvaad, organized by an NGO.
On prioritizing access to vaccines, he said that “SII could manufacture around 700-800 million vaccine doses every year. Although 55 percent of the population is below 50 years of age, yet, as per the availability of vaccines, healthcare workers should get the vaccines first, then people over 60 years of age with comorbidities followed by the rest of the populace.”
Dr. Jadhav also added that India is heading fast towards vaccine development, as two manufacturers are already in phase-3 trial and one in the phase-2 trial, while more players are joining the race.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, via its Strategic Investment Fund, will provide at-risk funding of a further US$150 million to Gavi, bringing the total funding provided through this collaboration to US$300 million.
This will be used to support the Serum Institute of India to manufacture potential vaccine candidates, and for future procurement of vaccines for low- and middle-income countries via Gavi’s COVAX AMC. It can help assure access to early doses for the most vulnerable on a truly global scale. Earlier Serum, GAVI, and the Gates Foundation have signed an agreement for 100 million doses at $3 for low- and middle-income countries including India.
The health ministry is also preparing a plan for the distribution of Covid-19 vaccines in the country and has asked the states and Union Territories to ensure that the supply chain and storage facilities are in place
Health Minister Harsh Vardhan earlier also laid out plans for vaccine distribution. “The target of the government is to receive and utilize 400 to 500 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine covering approximately 25 crore people by July 2021.”
“As the largest vaccine producing country in the world, I want to give one more assurance to the global community today. India’s vaccine production and delivery capacity will be used to help all humanity in fighting this crisis,” said PM Modi in his speech at the United Nations General Assembly.