'Be assured, everyone will get Covid-19 vaccine', says Union minister
Union minister G Kishan Reddy on Wednesday said that the Centre has made plans to vaccinate all the people of the country against Covid-19 by December after speaking to pharmaceutical companies. He also assured that everyone will get vaccine.
"The government has made action plans to vaccinate all by end of December (2021) and for production of 250 crore vaccine doses after speaking to several pharma companies. Sputnik arrived in Hyderabad yesterday, discussions are on to get Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson too," Reddy, the minister of state for home, was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
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"India stands third compared to other countries, in terms of vaccinating its citizens. We have simplified import rules so private hospitals can import vaccines. Vaccination drive will run for the next 7-8 months. Be assured that everyone will get vaccine," he added.
The minister's statement came on a day when the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) said it has done away with specific trials of Covid-19 vaccines that have been approved by other international regulatory bodies. The big move is likely to clear the way for foreign vaccines like Pfizer and Moderna for the country's urgent requirement.
In a letter, DCGI chief VG Somani said that this will be applicable for vaccines that have already been approved for restricted use by the US FDA, EMA, UK MHRA, PMDA Japan or listed for Emergency Use by the World Health Organisation.
Top government official had said on Tuesday that India will vaccinate 10 million (1 crore) people every day by July of early August, rubbishing reports that there is a shortage of vaccines in the country. Dr Balram Bhargava, the director general of Indian Council Medical Research (ICMR), said that the total number of vaccinations done in the country is nearly equivalent to the total number done in the United States despite India's population being four times the population of the US.
"We have to have some patience. By the mid of year, mid-July or early August, we will have more than enough doses to vaccinate up to a crore (10 million) per day," he said at a press conference.
But the government's ambitious plan will require 1.88 billion doses to be administered by the end of this year. An analysis of the data of ongoing vaccination drive and supply of jabs by Hindustan shows that 1.67 billion or 89% of these expected doses are yet to be administered.
This means that the country needs to deliver 238 million doses every month from June or risk falling behind target.
In May, India delivered an average of 1.93 million doses a day and several states ran out of supplies by the fourth week of the month for at least some groups of recipients. For June alone, the number of doses required has been pegged at 120 million.
The government, meanwhile, said the reports about consumption of Covid-19 vaccine doses in various media reports are "incorrect and without any basis". The reports said that only around 58 million doses were administered of the 79 million doses available in May.
According to Union health ministry's data at 7am on June 1, between May 1-31, a total of 61.06 million vaccine doses were administered by the states and Union territories.
A total of 16.22 million balance and unutilised doses were available with the states. The total number of vaccine shots available from May 1-31 was 79.45 million, the ministry said in a statement.