Bharat Biotech must increase its COVID-19 vaccine production to meet the country’s aim

The Union government’s affidavit in the Supreme Court on the availability of vaccines exhibits that Bharat Biotech will have to significantly increase its production in the coming six months to meet the country’s target of vaccinating all its adults by the end of December.

According to a rough estimate, the company is required to increase its supplies at least nine times than its current productions. India is looking forward to Bharat Biotech to supply around 48 crore doses of Covaxin among the 187 crore doses required to vaccinate 93-94 crore adults in the country. Covaxin’s estimated supplies will constitute nearly 26 per cent of all jabs. As yet, Covaxin covers 12 per cent of the vaccine administered in the country.

Earlier, the Center placed an order of around 8 crore Covaxin doses to the Bharat biotech for its supply from January to July. As per reports, Bharat Biotech on June 15 disclosed that they have supplied around four crore doses as yet which states that the company have supplied only fifty per cent of what it has to supply.

In addition, Bharat Biotech also have a huge order of supplying 19 crore doses from August in its hand. It have also received 30 per cent advanced money for the given order. The government in its affidavit in Supreme Court  proposed that it expects nearly 40 crore doses of Covaxin in between August and December. It is further reported that another order of 21 crore of doses of Covaxin could be placed by the end of this year. Though its struggle to supply the proposed vaccine doses put forward questions, the company notified its higher production capacity in its various units commencing from July.

The government in its affidavit to Supreme Court claimed that the Bharat Biotech has only supplied 2.29 crore doses till June 12 from the placed order of 8 crore doses which it has to supply by the end of July. Furthermore, the government stated that on June 12 it has received no supplies from the company against its order of five crore vaccine doses that was placed on May 5.

According to CoWIN portal, 3.8 crore of Covax doses have been administered in the country so far. The figure portrays that either more supplies from Bharat Biotech commenced in the past 15 days or the difference between 3.8 crore and 2.29 crore is on account of the number of doses that Bharat Biotech have facilitated to the states directly for the age group of 18-44 years. The decentralized vaccine policy commenced from May 1 and concluded on June 21.

Earlier in May, Bharat Biotech in a statement clarified that the timeline for manufacturing, testing and release for a batch of Covaxin takes almost 120 days, and thereby the production batches that were introduced in March will be ready for supply only during the month of June.

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