The government on Tuesday said that it has placed fresh orders for 25 crore more doses of Covishield and 19 crore doses of Covaxin COVID-19 vaccines. The announcement was made during the health ministry’s routine press briefing on the coronavirus pandemic.
Dr VK Paul, Member-Health at Niti Aayog, said these purchase orders are in addition to the advance order for 30 crore vaccine doses placed with Biological E. The Corbevax vaccine being developed by Biological E is expected to be available by September if it clears all trials. “The government has placed an order to purchase 25 crores doses of Covishield and 19 crore doses of Covaxin. The government has also placed an order to purchase 30 crore doses of Biological E’s vaccine, which will be available by September,” Dr Paul said.
According to the health ministry, the 44 crore doses of Covishield and Covaxin, for which orders have been placed afresh, will be used in the inoculation programme till December 2021. The government said it has already released a 30 per cent advance payment for the procurement of both the vaccines to the Serum Institute of India (SII) and Bharat Biotech. It may be noted that SII manufactures the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab, which is known as Covishield in India, while Covaxin is manufactured by Bharat Biotech which has indigenously developed the vaccine.
Regarding Biological E’s Corbevax vaccine, Dr Paul said: “We should wait for the company to announce the price of their vaccine. It will depend on our negotiation with the company, under the new policy. The financial aid that has been given will meet part of the price.” “The provisional scientific data of the vaccine (Biological E’s Corbevax) is very promising,” he added