216 crore or 135 crore? Centre clarifies number of vaccine doses to be available in 2021
"When we proposed the estimate of 216 crore vaccines between August and December this year, we clearly said that we collated the figures that our vaccine makers gave us," VK Paul said.
The Union health ministry earlier estimated that there will be 216 crore vaccine doses available in the country between August and December this year. But in the affidavit submitted to the Supreme Court, the government reduced the estimate and brought it to 135 crore vaccine doses.
"When we proposed the estimate of 216 crore vaccines between August and December this year, we clearly said that we collated the figures that our vaccine makers gave us according to their responsible, optimistic and aspirational roadmap. The private sector is very influential in India; they have such a major contribution to the GDP. They are reputed vaccine-maker conglomerates. We collated what they showed," Niti Aayog member (health) VK Paul said.
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The government is responsible for the procurement of vaccines which has been fixed as 75 per cent of the monthly production of vaccines.
In its earlier estimate of 216 crore vaccine doses, the government took into account the future availability of Biological E, Zydus Cadila's vaccine, Novavax and Bharat Biotech's nasal vaccines. But as far as the main vaccine makers - Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech -- are concerned, at present 90 crore vaccine doses are estimated from each, Dr Paul said. This can also go up.
"The situation is dynamic but satisfactory," Dr Paul said.
Following the reduction in the number of projected availability of vaccines, it was alleged that the two vaccine makers may not have met their monthly production target. Serum Institute CEO Adar Poonawalla said his company is producing 90 million doses a month which may see a 10 per cent increase in August.