India Requires Rs 80,000 Cr For Vaccine Distribution Next Year: SII

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Pune- Pune-based vaccine-maker Serum Institute of India, which has partnered with AstraZeneca to manufacture the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, on Saturday said that the country would require a massive funding of Rs 80,000 crore for distribution of the COVID vaccine for the next one year.

The Central government plans to vaccinate nearly 30 crore people in the first phase of drive. It will be offered to one crore healthcare workers, along with two crore frontline and essential workers and 27 crore elderly, mostly above the age of 50 years with comorbidities.

Three vaccine candidates – Serum Institute-Oxford’s Covishield, Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin and Pfizer vaccine are in the fray for emergency use authorization. The Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) has sought additional data from the Serum Institute as well as Bharat Biotech to get approval.

Speaking about the logistics of the vaccine after it is granted approval, Dr. Satish D. Ravetkar, Executive Director of Serum Institute of India said, “The funding for such large scale distribution would be huge, and India should be ready with a funding of around Rs 80,000 crore for next one year for distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine.”

The Executive Director added that India would further have to ensure adequate power supply that could help maintain the temperature required to keep the vaccine safe in the remote areas of the country.

“It is a huge challenge, and all the stakeholders have to work together to take up the challenge of such large scale operation,” he said at NASSCOM’s webinar on ‘Vaccine Trials – Optimizing the Supply Chain’, emphasizing on the need for a clear communication from the Central government.

Dr. Ravetkar said, “Everything starts with government getting into action. IT-enabled supply chain management should be established as at Serum Institute we produce 1.6 million doses annually. So, we can roll out this vaccine fast. He said that it will be easier for all manufacturers to plan their production”

Alluding to the menace of counterfeiting, he said, “We have experience in counterfeiting and in this Covid-19, this is bound to happen as there is a huge demand for it. We have to establish machinery and system to control this.”

India has eight Covid-19 vaccine candidates, including three indigenous vaccines, under different stages of clinical trials which could be ready for authorization in near future.

It includes AstraZeneca and Oxford university developed and Serum Institute of India manufactured Covishield, Covaxin by Bharat Biotech Limited, ZyCoV-D by Zydus Cadila and Russian vaccine candidate Sputnik-V.

The list also contains NVX-CoV2373 by SII, HGCO19 by Geneva, and two unlabeled vaccines-Recombinant Protein Antigen based vaccine by Biological E Limited-and Inactivated rabies vector platform by Bharat Biotech.

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