Covid-19: Govt orders 14.5mn more doses as preparation for second dose begins

  • Of the 14.5 million doses, 10 million are of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine called Covishield and manufactured by Serum Institute and 4.5 million are doses of Covaxin,,co-developed by Bharat Biotech and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
Of the 16.5 million Covid-19 vaccine doses which the government ordered in early January, 11 million doses were of Covishield, and the remaining 5.5 million of Covaxin.(AFP)
Of the 16.5 million Covid-19 vaccine doses which the government ordered in early January, 11 million doses were of Covishield, and the remaining 5.5 million of Covaxin.(AFP)
Published on Feb 10, 2021 04:56 AM IST
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By, New Delhi

As preparations begin for administering the second dose of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) vaccine in the country, the government has placed a combined order for 14.5 million more doses from the two approved vaccine manufactures in India -- Pune-based Serum Institute of India and Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech International.

Of the 14.5 million doses, 10 million are of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine called Covishield and manufactured by Serum Institute and 4.5 million are doses of Covaxin,,co-developed by Bharat Biotech and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

According to industry executives with knowledge of the development, Serum Institute has been sent the order by the government for 10 million doses of Covishield ahead of the expected administration of the second dose over the weekend .“The news is correct,” said one executive, requesting not to be named.

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A spokesperson for Bharat Biotech confirmed that the company had received a fresh order for 4.5 million doses of Covaxin. “The company has received a letter of comfort from the Government of India to supply another 4.5 million doses of Covaxin,’ the spokesperson said.

Of the 16.5 million Covid-19 vaccine doses which the government ordered in early January, 11 million doses were of Covishield, and the remaining 5.5 million of Covaxin.

Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan, in the weekly Covid-19 health briefing on Tuesday, said the procurement of Covid vaccines was an ongoing process.

“This is a continuous process, so whatever figure I give you today will change in the near future. This is something that would continue month on month. It is not a one-off or a one-time exercise where we procure upfront and then do nothing. This is a fortnightly, monthly procurement exercise, which takes into consideration the total amount procured, the total amount consumed, and the shelf life of the vaccine doses which have been procured,” Bhushan said.


Bhushan also said ample precautions were being taken to ensure that no vaccine vial is wasted, which included making changes to the Co-WIN app to accommodate walk-ins among registered beneficiaries, and also certain measures are being put in place at the vaccination sites.

“The site officers have been asked to regularly assess the...vaccine consumption, and also not to open a vial until there are 10 beneficiaries at the site as one vial contains 10 doses etc. Nothing is being wasted,”Bhushan said on the sidelines of the briefing.


Both the approved Covid-19 vaccines are two-dose vaccines, being administered 28 days apart. India’s Covid-19 vaccination drive was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on January 16, and those who received their first dose on that day are eligible to receive their second dose on February 13.

Union health minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan said in Parliament recently that as many as 22 countries had sought the Indian-made Covid-19 vaccines. “As on February 2, 5.6 million doses have been sent as grant doses, and 10.5 million as contract doses to at least 15 countries,” he said.

The countries that have received or will receive India-made vaccine against Covid-19 as part of vaccine maîtri (friendship) initiative include Bhutan, Bangladesh, Nepal, the Maldives, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Algeria, Afghanistan, Bahrain, Nicaragua, Barbados, Seychelles and Mauritius.

India will also consider opening up the vaccine supplies for people to buy privately once the government’s target of vaccinating its vulnerable population is met.

“The immediate concern is to vaccinate our 300 million individuals who are at high risk, once that is taken care of then other options can be explored. Vaccine-derived herd immunity is what we are looking at attaining,” said Dr VK Paul, member (health), Niti Aayog, said during the press brieifing.

The government’s priority list of 300 million high-risk individuals comprises about 10 million health-care workers, about 20 million front-line workers, and 270 million people above 50 years of age and people with comorbidities.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Rhythma Kaul works as an assistant editor at Hindustan Times. She covers health and related topics, including ministry of health and family welfare, government of India.

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