The government is waiting to hear from vaccine company, Moderna, on some issues and a response was expected any time now. Talks are going on contractual specifics and has not concluded yet, V K Paul member, health, Niti Aayog, at a health ministry briefing on Friday.
The Drugs Controller General of India has already granted permission to Mumbai-based pharmaceutical company Cipla to import Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine for restricted emergency use in the country. Moderna and Pfizer have asked for indemnity against adverse events caused by the vaccine as a precondition for launching of their Covid-19 vaccines in India. The government has raised some issues and had been hopeful of a response from Moderna.
On the drop in vaccination levels in the country, Paul said they had a visibility of around 13 to 14 crore vaccine doses this month. “Serum Institute of India has increased production of Covishield the last few weeks,” Paul said. Technical glitches in production faced by one of the companies had caused a dip in production and it has been sorted out and since then production has been increased, he said. Increase in vaccine production and new vaccine candidates coming would increase the country’s vaccine stock pile, he assured.
The country has till Friday administered 39.53 crore doses of the vaccine with 31.61 first doses and 7.92 crore second doses administered so far. A ICMR study on vaccine effectiveness involving 1,17,524 high-risk police personnel in Tamil Nadu in the midst of the second wave had shown that two doses of the vaccines provided 95% protection against death while the single dose offered 82% protection. Paul said this data was significant as it was real life data and during the Delta variant-driven wave.
In a vaccine-related development, the government on Friday told the Delhi High Court that trials of Covid-19 vaccines by Zydus Cadila for those aged between 12 and 18 years was being completed and vaccination of children would be possible after regulatory approvals. Zydus Cadila had on July 1 announced plans to roll out ZyCoV-D, their Covid-19 vaccine in 45-60 days after regulatory approvals and scaling up of manufacturing.
With the WHO warning about the third wave of the pandemic, Paul said the next 100 to 125 days would be very critical for the country as a large section of the population was still vulnerable.