Centre places fresh orders to procure vaccines; delivery to be completed by July

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As several states face vaccine crunch despite the Centre placing bulk orders with two vaccine makers Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech, the government has issued fresh orders to procure vaccines from these companies. Union aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri has said advance orders for May, June and July have been placed. “India’s fight against COVID-19 continues undaunted. Just a gentle reminder to those fuelling hesitancy & panic. More than 18 cr vaccine doses administered so far. Advance orders for May, June & July 2021 have been placed with the two manufacturers & payments have been made,” he tweeted.

Elaborating further, Puri said the central government has placed advance orders with SII, buying 5.6 crore vaccines worth Rs 1,176 crore through PM Cares. The orders for over 11 crore doses placed on April 22 and 10 crore doses worth Rs 1,575 crore by the health ministry on May 10.

“Advance Orders placed with @SerumInstIndia: 5.60 cr vaccines worth Rs 1,176 crore through PM Cares. 11 cr doses on 22 April 2021 & 10 cr doses worth Rs 1,575 cr by @MoHFW_INDIA on 10 May 2021,” he tweeted.

With Bharat Biotech, he said the Centre has placed orders for 1 crore vaccines worth Rs 216.83 crore through PM Cares; and 5 crore doses on April 22 and 2 crore on May 10 by the health ministry. “Advance orders placed with @BharatBiotech: 1 cr vaccines worth Rs 216.83cr through PM Cares. 5cr doses worth Rs 866 cr on 22 April and 2 cr doses worth Rs 315 cr through MoHFW on 10 May 2021. Delivery of all these doses will be completed by July 2021,” he tweeted.

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As of May 11, the cumulative number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the country stands at 17,51,71,482. Over 4.74 lakh beneficiaries of the age group 18-44 years received their first dose of COVID vaccine on May 11. Overall, 23.8 lakh vaccine doses were administered on May 11. Thirty lakh people across 30 states/UTs have received jabs since the start of Phase-3 vaccination.

Despite the Centre’s efforts, some states continue to report vaccine shortage. The Delhi government, in an SOS to the Centre on Monday, said it has Covaxin stock only to last a day, while Covishield stock is enough for around four days. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday suggested to the central government that it should share the COVID-19 vaccine formula of Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech with other firms in the country in order to scale up production of the coronavirus jab. He also said there is a shortage of COVID-19 vaccine doses across India. Kejriwal added there is an urgent need for the country to scale up its manufacturing on a war footing.