Covid-19: Govt places fresh order for 44 crore vaccines with SII, Bharat Biotech

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Chief ministers of 13 states had approached the government requesting for centralised procurement.

The government on Tuesday placed fresh orders for procuring 44 crore Covid-19 vaccines following the change in the national vaccination policy announced by the Prime Minister on Monday, VK Paul, member, health, Niti Aayog said.

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The fresh orders and the advance payment released to vaccine maker Biological E for 30 crore doses would take the total vaccine doses secured by the government to 76 crore Covid-19 vaccines, Paul said.

These orders are to be supplied between August and December with 25 crore Covishield vaccines from Serum Institute of India (SII) and 19 crore vaccine doses of Covaxin from Bharat Biotech (BB). Advance payments of 30% have been released to SII and BB. The price of the Biological E vaccine will be announced soon.

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The fresh order is in addition to the orders for 53.6 crore doses already placed for June and July, Paul said. More orders, he said, will be placed, and while the time frame for vaccine supplies has been decided, the exact schedule for vaccine delivery is being worked out.

SII has increased production in June and would further ramp it up in July, increasing availability by August-September, Paul said. Chief ministers of 13 states had approached the government requesting for centralised procurement.

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The changes in the vaccination programme were made in response to all these representations, he said. Now, all citizens above 18 years of age can receive the Covid-19 vaccine doses free of cost at government health facilities. The government has plans to give the states visibility of one month’s supplies in advance to enable them to plan vaccine administration.

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