Coronavirus | Bharat Biotech to make 6 crore Covaxin doses by July

3 more facilities to produce Covaxin.

Updated - April 16, 2021 11:52 pm IST

Published - April 16, 2021 11:18 pm IST - NEW DELHI

A health worker prepares a jab of Covaxin at a vaccination centre in New Delhi on April 15, 2021.

A health worker prepares a jab of Covaxin at a vaccination centre in New Delhi on April 15, 2021.

The production of indigenously developed Covaxin vaccine will be doubled by May-June and then increased nearly 6-7 fold by July-August 2021. Bharat Biotech makes 1 crore doses a month now. Production may reach nearly 10 crore doses a month by September, the Department of Biotechnology said on Friday.

The DBT has funded three state-run facilities — the Haffkine Biopharmaceutical Corporation Ltd, Mumbai; Indian Immunologicals Limited, Hyderabad and Biologicals Limited, Bulandsh-ahr — to make vaccines. Haffkine has been given ₹65 crore but it will take anywhere between 6-12 months to be able to produce the vaccine; the other two facilities are expected to begin producing 10-15 million doses a month by August.

The mainstay of increasing production will be Bharat Biotech which is in the process of scaling up its Bengaluru manufacturing facility.

“Scaling up a manufacturing facility to be able to make 10 crore doses a month is a huge challenge,” Renu Swarup, Secretary, Department of Biotechnology, told The Hindu. “But we’ve asked all companies to accelerate.”

“Haffkine didn’t immediately have the facilities to handle live virus and so building those would take time, Ms. Swarup said. “We don’t how long COVID will last but there may be other needs in the future. These are now investments for the future,” she added.

“Inter-Ministerial teams had visited the sites of vaccine manufacturers in India to get their inputs on how production can be ramped up. In this period, there have been extensive reviews and feasibility studies on the plans being discussed with vaccine manufacturers,” the DBT’s press statement noted.

On Friday, India administered 2.2 million vaccine doses, much below its peak of April 5 when it administered over 4.3 million doses. So far India has administered 111 million doses, making it the third largest inoculator in the world. However this has covered only 7% of India’s population with only 1.1% getting fully inoculated.

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