Covid-19 vaccine in India update: Bringing clarity on the availability of Sputnik V vaccine in India, Indian Ambassador to India D Bala Venkatesh Verma has said that the Russia-developed vaccine will be made available for the Indian population in three phases.
Explaining the three phases, Verma said that during the first phase ready to use vaccine will be sent to India directly from Russia, a batch of which has already been imported. During the second phase, the vaccine will be supplied to the country in bulk and its filling into tiny bottles will be undertaken by Indian pharma companies. The envoy continued and said that during the final third phase, the technology of vaccine manufacturing will be shared with the Indian pharma partners and domestic production of the same will be started, news agency ANI reported.
As far as the timeline of different phases is concerned, the domestic production will only be started by the month of August, the ambassador informed. However, the number of doses expected to be imported in India in bulk will be about 30 lakh by May end which will increase to 50 lakh by June end, Verma shared. The vaccine doses to be shared in bulk will be filled in bottles by the Indian pharma companies only. Cumulatively in all three phases, a total of 850 million of Russian vaccine doses will be made available to India, the envoy shared during a press conference.
So far Dr Reddy’s Laboratories which is the Indian pharma partner of the Russian vaccine has imported a total of 2.1 lakh Sputnik vaccine doses, the ambassador said. By May-end, the supply of vaccine doses in bulk will be shored up to 30 lakh and the same will be filled into bottles inside the country.
The ambassador also said that the Russian side has also evinced interest in supplying Sputnik Light vaccine to India and that will become an area of cooperation between the two sides in future. He also said that the Indian Drug regulator has also not given its approval to the Sputnik Light vaccine so far and talks will be taken ahead only after the approval has been granted. The Sputnik Light vaccine is a single dose vaccine developed by the same Moscow-based manufacturer Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology.