On Saturday, the Pune-based vaccine-maker Serum Institute of India, which has collaborated with AstraZeneca to develop the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, said that for the next year the country will need a whopping Rs 80,000 crore funding for the delivery of the Covid vaccine.
In the first step of the drive, the Central government aims to vaccinate nearly 30 crore persons. Along with two crore frontline and critical staff and 27 crores aged, mainly over 50 years of age with comorbidities, it will be given to one crore healthcare worker.
There are three vaccine applicants – Serum Institute-Covishield of Oxford, Covaxin of Bharat Biotech, and Pfizer vaccine in the emergency authorization fray. In order to gain clearance, the Central Drugs Quality Control Organization (CDSCO) has requested additional evidence from the Serum Institute as well as Bharat Biotech.
Speaking about the logistics of the vaccine after approval was given, Dr. Satish D. Ravetkar, Executive Director of the Serum Institute of India, said The funding for such a large scale distribution would be huge, and India should be ready with a funding of around Rs 80,000 crore for next one year for distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine.”
The Executive Director added that India would also need to ensure a sufficient supply of electricity that could help sustain the temperature needed to keep the vaccine secure in the country’s remote areas.
“It is a huge challenge, and all the stakeholders have to work together to take up the challenge of such large-scale operation,” he said at NASSCOM’s ‘Vaccine Trials – Maximizing the Supply Chain webinar, stressing the Central Government’s need for consistent contact.
Dr. Ravetkar said Everything starts with the government getting into action. IT-enabled supply chain management should be established as at Serum Institute we produce 1.6 million doses annually. So we can roll out this vaccine fast. He said that it will be easier for all manufacturers to plan their production”
Alluding to the challenge of counterfeiting, he said, “We have experience in counterfeiting, and in this Covid-19, this is bound to happen as there is a huge demand for it We have to establish machinery and system to control this.”
In various stages of clinical trials, India has eight Covid-19 vaccine candidates, including three indigenous vaccines, which may be ready for authorization in the immediate future.
It comprises Covishield, Covaxin by Bharat Biotech Limited, ZyCoV-D by Zydus Cadila, and Russian vaccine candidate Sputnik-V, developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University and created by the Serum Institute of India.
The list also includes NVX-CoV2373 by SII, HGCO19 by Geneva, and two unlabeled vaccines-Biological E Limited’s Recombinant Protein Antigen dependent vaccine-and Bharat Biotech’s Inactivated Rabies Vector Network.