Quality concerns delayed Covaxin supply, says top govt advisor
The supply of indigenously manufactured anti-coronavirus vaccine Covaxin has been delayed over quality issues in the first few batches of the doses that were produced at the company’s most recent facility in Bengaluru, a senior advisor to the government has said.
As the vaccine shortage crisis continues to hit the nationwide inoculation drive, Dr NK Arora, chief of the National Immunisation Technical Advisory Group (NTAGI), said the government was initially hoping for a much scaled-up production of Covaxin, but the initial glitches, including that of quality, slowed down the entire process.
Covaxin, backed by the state-run Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), is one of the two main vaccines, the other one being Serum Institute of India’s Covishield, that are being administered in the country against the virus.
"The test batches from the Bengaluru plant were not satisfactory and got rejected and it led to a delay in ramping up production, but now the batches have been approved by the competent authority and will be available for public consumption," he was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
Dr Arora said Bharat Biotech will soon be able to scale up its production to about seven-10 crore doses per month in the coming weeks. "Almost 47crore doses have been administered so far. In August, availability should increase significantly overall and it is expected that Bharat Biotech will be able to provide seven to 10 crore doses per month in the coming weeks," he said.
"Bharat Biotech and Serum Institute are our major vaccine suppliers and we hope they will drive our mission to complete the adult immunisation programme in this country by the end," he added.
Regarding the present status of vaccine supplies, he said, "Serum Institute produced almost 8- 10 crore doses, 3-3.5 crore from Bharat Biotech and a small contribution from (Russia-made) Sputnik V."
Dr Arora also expressed hope that ZyCoV-D, being manufactured by Ahmedabad-based Zydus Cadila, will be available soon.
(With agency inputs)