Reports claiming fresh vaccine orders not placed are incorrect, says Centre
The Centre on Monday denied allegations that the government has not placed any fresh orders for the Covid-19 vaccines for its nationwide immunisation programme, and pointed out that the suppliers credit extended to both the Serum Institute of India (SII) and Bharat Biotech in late April was against future supplies.
“There have been some media reports alleging that the Centre has not placed any fresh order for Covid-19 vaccines. The news reports suggest that the last order placed with the two vaccine makers (100 million doses with SII and 20 million doses with Bharat Biotech) was in March 2021. These media reports are completely incorrect, and are not based on facts,” the Union health ministry said in a statement.
It clarified that 100% advance of Rs.1,732.50 crore (after TDS Rs.1,699.50 crore) was released to Serum Institute of India (SII) on April 28, for 110 million doses of Covishield vaccine to be delivered in May, June and July. In addition, as on date, against the last (March) order of 100 million doses for supplies of Covishield, 87.5 million doses have been delivered till May 3, 2021.
The ministry also said that 100% advance of Rs.787.50 crore (after TDS ₹772.50 crore) was released on April 28, to Bharat Biotech India Ltd (BBIL) for 50 million Covaxin doses to be delivered in May, June and July. As on date, against the last (March) order of 20 million doses for supplies of Covaxin vaccine, 8.8 million doses have been delivered till May 3, 2021.
SII put out a tweet endorsing the health ministry’s statement. “...We have been working closely with the Government of India for the past year & thank it for its support. We remain committed to ramping up our vaccine production to save every life we can,” it read.
“Vaccine manufacturing is a specialized process, it is therefore not possible to ramp up production overnight, SII CEO Adar Poonawalla said in a statement.