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Saturday, May 08, 2021

Punjab awaits SII nod, Maharashtra may get going with Covaxin

Maharashtra officials said that while SII has not responded to their query officially, the manufacturer has informed the state it can supply only after mid-May.

By: Express News Service | Ludhiana, Mumbai, Panaji |
Updated: April 28, 2021 7:24:52 am
In a letter, Bharat Biotech has told Maharashtra it can supply 5 lakh doses in May, 10 lakh each in June and July, and 20 lakh each in August, September and October.

While Punjab’s health department, which had contacted the Serum Institute of India (SII) to place an order for 30 lakh Covishield doses, is yet to receive any confirmation for supply, Maharashtra has received information from Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech that it can deliver 5 lakh doses in May to start immunisation programme for 18-44 age group.

Maharashtra officials said that while SII has not responded to their query officially, the manufacturer has informed the state it can supply only after mid-May.

In a letter, Bharat Biotech has told Maharashtra it can supply 5 lakh doses in May, 10 lakh each in June and July, and 20 lakh each in August, September and October. A date for May has not been provided. The order for 85 lakh doses will cost the state around Rs 535.5 crore.

The company’s letter also stated, “The above (stock) is purely tentative which can either increase or decrease.”

In neighbouring Goa, the plan to roll out vaccines for 18-44 age group is hanging in balance after SII expressed inability to supply 5 lakh doses of Covishield, according to Director of Health Services Dr Jose D’sa. He said, “…they (SII) are not in a position to supply because they have commitments to fulfill for Government of India…”

CM Pramod Sawant said later in the day, “I have personally taken up the matter with SII. We have asked them to give Goa priority and deliver vaccines as soon as possible.”

Punjab’s Principal Secretary, Health, Husan Lal said they contacted SII to place an order for 30 lakh doses of Covishield — at Rs 400 per dose, as announced by the company for state governments — but the company “has not promised any supply as of now”.

Dr Rajesh Bhaskar, nodal officer, Covid-19, Punjab said they are yet to contact Bharat Biotech to place an order for Covaxin.

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