India is producing over 8.5 crore vaccine doses a month, the Centre told the Kerala High Court today. The average number of vaccines administered across the country in a day is around 12 to 13 lakh, added the Centre, which has come under heavy opposition criticism over the crippling vaccine shortage in the country. According to the figures provided, the daily production is around 28.33 lakh, and only 57 per cent of this reaches the people.
Many states, including Delhi and Maharashtra, had to shut a chunk of vaccination centres, given the shortage. Most states are also desperately trying to shop for vaccine from abroad -- efforts that are yet to meet with much success..
The Kerala High Court had taken up the issue of Covid in the state suo motu and in the last hearing on May 20, asked the Centre to provide a time frame for vaccination in the state.
Detailing its vaccination policy in an affidavit, the Centre told the Kerala High Court today that there is "no fixed target for dispensation of vaccines to the states and Union Territories".
Giving data on vaccine production in the same affidavit, the Centre said currently, the Pune-based Serum Institute of India is producing 6.5 crore doses of Covishield a month. Covaxin manufacturer Bharat Biotech is producing 2 crore doses of a month.
The Centre however, held out hopes for the vaccine supply situation improving within the next two months, saying producers all three vaccines currently used, will boost production by July.
The Serum Institute has ramped up its production from 5 crore doses a month to 6.5 crore doses a month. A further boost is expected by July, the Centre said.
Bharat Biotech has increased production from 90 lakh doses a month to 2 crore doses a month. A boost by July is expected there too – the firm is expected to produce 5.5 crore doses a month.
The Russian vaccine Sputnik-V, which is now available in India, is expected to increase production from 30 lakh doses to 1.2 crore doses a month by July.
On the subject of vaccine pricing, the Centre also told the court that tightly controlling the price of vaccines may cause difficulty in securing adequate and/or multiple vaccine supplies, especially from offshore manufacturers
On Sunday, Kerala reported 25,820 fresh COVID-19 cases, taking the total caseload to 23,17,911. The number of active cases stood at 2,77,598. The state, lauded in the international community for its handling of the first Covid wave, also recorded 188 deaths, which pushed the number of fatalities to 7,358.