Unutilised vaccines with states doubled since Sept: Govt data

  • The increase in vaccine supplies has been attributed to an increase in overall vaccine production and improved logistical arrangements in the country.
As per the data, a week ago there were at least 80 million doses available at any given point, which at the beginning of the month was about 50 million.(Reuters)
As per the data, a week ago there were at least 80 million doses available at any given point, which at the beginning of the month was about 50 million.(Reuters)
Updated on Oct 18, 2021 05:40 AM IST
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By, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

The number of Covid-19 vaccines lying unutilised with various states has nearly doubled over the past one month, growing from about 50 million doses in early October to at least 100 million now, according to government data, which suggests that there is no shortage of vaccines.

A senior official in the ministry of health and family welfare said on condition of anonymity, “As per the latest data, more than 10 crore vaccine doses (10.42 crore or 100 million on Sunday) were lying with the states under the vaccination programme. At any given time now, the states have enough vaccine doses to be administered in the programme. In fact, the volume has more than doubled.”

As per the data, a week ago there were at least 80 million doses available at any given point, which at the beginning of the month was about 50 million. Last month, on average, the number of balance and unutilised doses with the states at any given time was close to 50 million. “The supplies have gone up significantly as compared to the number of doses being administered daily, so much so that we almost tell states every other day to administer more doses in a single day as supplies are no longer an issue,” said another central government official aware of the matter, on condition of anonymity.

The increase in vaccine supplies has been attributed to an increase in overall vaccine production and improved logistical arrangements in the country.

From about 100 million Covishield doses and 2-2.5 million Covaxin doses till a couple of months ago, the monthly availability of both vaccines has now gone up to 220 and 6 million doses, respectively.

While Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII) is locally manufacturing Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine under the brand name Covishield, Bharat Biotech is manufacturing Covaxin that the company developed in collaboration with the country’s apex biomedical research regulator, the Indian Council of Medical Research.

“Earlier, states used to complain frequently about vaccine supply shortage, and we used to ask them to be patient as companies were in the process of ramping up their monthly vaccine production that would lead to more supplies. We get supplies daily; a few days ago, we even got more than a crore vaccine doses in a single day,” said the second official.

As per government data till Sunday, at least one billion Covid-19 vaccine doses have been provided to states and Union territories under the national vaccination programme since it was launched on January 16, and 976.5 million doses have been administered so far.

“The supplies are going to go up further in the coming weeks with Zydus Cadila’s anti-Covid vaccine also expected to be added to the list. The company is likely to provide 6 million doses soon; negotiations are on,” said the second official cited above.

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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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