The Ministry of Health has asked the global vaccine alliance GAVI to provide five crore of the 10 crore doses of Covishield allocated to India under the COVAX facility free of charge, official sources said recently.
Amid rising coronavirus cases in the country, the government has started providing free precautionary doses to people aged 18 and over for the next 75 days as part of the “COVID Amrit Mahotsava vaccination”.
According to an official source, Prakash Kumar Singh, Director, Government and Regulatory Affairs, Serum Institute of India (SII), had written a letter to the Ministry of Health in April for the use of 10 crore doses of Covishield offered free of charge by GAVI .
“As COVID cases rise again in our country, the use of these 100 million (10 crore) doses of Covishield vaccine immediately available free of charge by GAVI to our citizens at the earliest would be beneficial in controlling the upsurge of COVID- 19. This will play a crucial role in continuing the world’s largest vaccination campaign under the visionary leadership of our Prime Minister Narendra Modi Ji towards its successful completion,” Singh learned in his letter to the ministry in April.
The Pune-based SII had said that if these 10 crore free doses of Covishield are not taken by the Indian government in a timely manner, it will lead to waste of life-saving vaccines amid the pandemic outbreak.
According to sources, after the use of five crore doses of Covishield, the requirement will be reviewed and, if necessary, GAVI will be asked to provide the remaining five crore doses.
Edited by EP News Bureau