Union Minister Nitin Gadkari has called for increasing the number of companies producing Covid vaccines and suggested that more pharma companies should be given the licence to manufacture vaccines to deal with the pandemic.
“If vaccine demand is more than supply, it creates problem. Instead of 1, let 10 more companies be given license to manufacture vaccine….Let them supply in the country and later if there is surplus, they may export,” Gadkari said in a video tweeted by ANI.
“There are two or three laboratories in every state. Let them make it, not as a service, but with 10 per cent royalty… It can be done in 15-20 days,” he added.
Covishield, Covaxin and Sputnik V are the three vaccines that the DGCI has approved for emergency use. Covaxin is an indigenous vaccine being manufactured by Hyderabad-based biotechnology company, Bharat Biotech. Pune-based Serum Institute of India is manufacturing Covishield — the local version of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. Sputnik V has been approved to be imported from Russia by Dr Reddy’s but is yet to be widely available in the country.
Several states have alleged that they are not able to provide vaccines to people due to a shortage from the manufacturers. Several states and UTs including Delhi, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Telangana have decided to opt for global tenders for procurement of anti-coronavirus shots with the domestic supply falling short to meet the rising demand.
The Centre last week said that 7.30 crore doses would be available in May for the vaccination drive. Out of these, 1.27 crore doses that are being directly procured by states are in the pipeline, and 80 lakh doses are being procured by private hospitals.
Recently, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying the Centre should share Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin formula with other companies willing to manufacture coronavirus vaccines to prevent a shortage.