New Delhi: Russia’s Sputnik vaccine for COVID-19 has arrived in India and its sale could begin as early as next week, informed NITI Aayog member Dr VK Paul on Thursday (May 13).
He said that the limited supply of Sputnik vaccine doses that has come from Russia is likely to be available in the market next week.
“Sputnik vaccine has arrived in India. I'm happy to say that we're hopeful that it'll be available in the market next week. We're hopeful that the sale of the limited supply that has come from there (Russia), will begin next week,” Dr VK Paul said.
He said that the vaccine’s production in India will begin in July.
“Further supply will also follow. Its production will begin in July and it is estimated that 15.6 crore doses will be manufactured in that period,” he said.
Regarding other vaccine candidates such as Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, Dr Paul said that the authorities are constantly in touch with the manufacturers and significant headway is likely to happen in the third quarter of the year.
“Department of Biotechnology, other departments concerned and MEA have been in touch with Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson from the beginning. They were officially asked if they would like to send doses to or manufacture in India, we'll find partners and assist,” Dr Paul said.
“They had said that they are working in their own way and they would talk of vaccine availability in Q3, in 2021. We are connected to them. I'm hopeful that they'll step forward to increase availability in India,” he added.
“Overall, 216 crore doses of vaccines will be manufactured in India between August-December - for India and for Indians. There should be no doubt that vaccine will be available for all as we move forward,” Dr Paul asserted.
“Any vaccine that is approved by FDA or WHO can come to India. Import license will be granted within 1-2 days. No import license is pending,” he said further.
He informed that so far 18 crore vaccine doses have been administered in the country making India the third-best in the world in this regard.
“We are happy to report that one-third of people aged 45 and above are protected. This age group contributes to 88% of deaths. So you can imagine, how much dent it would have made to reduce the risk of death of this population,” he said.