The Covid-19 vaccines will be ready for rollout in 10 days from the emergency use authorisation date based on feedback from the dry run, the government said today, ending speculation about the time frame that started since the drug regulator's approval on Sunday. Two vaccines have received approval -- Oxford University's Covishield, which is being developed by the Pune-based Serum Institute, and Bharat Biotech's Covaxin.
Today's announcement by the government came amid the growing number of the highly infectious strain of mutant Covid that is reaching India with people returning from the United Kingdom. So far, 58 people have tested positive for the new strain, the Union Health ministry said this morning, reporting 20 new cases.
"Today, all vaccines are working. None of the mutations has challenged the vaccines," the health ministry said, adding, "We have not seen any emergence of untoward clusters. So far, so good".
Serum Institute chief Adar Poonawalla has said they had more than 50 million doses available were expecting a quick rollout.
"As soon as the government of India lets us know where they want it shipped out and certain other formalities have to be processed and a signed contract has to be there in this week. We're expecting all these formalities to be completed in the next 7 to 10 days and a very quick rollout after that," Mr Poonawalla had told NDTV in a recent interview.
The company, he said, is hoping to reach 70-80 million doses of actual supply in the next 30 to 45 days.
A countrywide dry run has already been held in all states, which, the ministry said showed that the country is ready to begin the vaccination drive.
The process, in which participants receive dummy Covid vaccines, is meant to test the mechanisms and reveal possible gaps in the system ahead of the actual vaccination drive.