SII, Bharat Biotech receive ₹4,567 crore to boost vaccine production capacity
Finance ministry on Monday approved advance payment of ₹4,567.50 crore to boost the capacity of the makers of Covid-19 vaccines in India as the country faces a second wave of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic, news agency ANI reported quoting people familiar with the developments.
The finance ministry approved ₹3,000 crore for Pune-based SII which is manufacturing the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine Covishield and granted ₹1567.50 crores to Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech boosting the production of Covaxin, according to ANI. Both the vaccines have been instrumental in India’s vaccination drive and also were the first two vaccines approved by the government for the vaccination drive which began in January.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is also scheduled to meet India’s largest drugmakers on Tuesday to discuss modalities for the vaccination drive after the government brought everyone above 18 years of age under the ambit of the vaccination drive. The next phase of vaccination will begin from May 1.
The SII, which is the largest vaccine manufacturer in the world, requested funds to boost its vaccine production as demand increased manifold due to rising cases of Covid-19 in India. The company will also manufacture the Novavax vaccine in India.
SII is part of GAVI (Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations) and scheduled to deliver millions of vaccine doses to poor countries. It is also scheduled to deliver vaccine doses under commercial contracts to several foreign nations as well.
India recently approved Russian made Sputnik V and is also planning to approve vaccines made by Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson. India recently set the milestone of vaccinating more than 122 million people in a period of 92 days. India has vaccinated more than 3.1 million people on Monday, according to data released by the Union ministry of health and family welfare.
The nation is fighting a second wave of Covid-19 as it reported a record surge in daily Covid-19 cases and deaths. The total tally of Covid-19 cases crossed 15 million on Monday with 273,810 fresh infections while the death toll rose to 178,769 with a record 1,619 fresh fatalities.