Friday, March 31, 2023
HomeHealthGovt says no Covaxin supply issue: 5 cr doses with states, 10...

Govt says no Covaxin supply issue: 5 cr doses with states, 10 cr more coming in next 2 months

Only Covaxin will be used for vaccinating an estimated 7.4 crore 15-18-year-olds, so finding a slot for the first shot of the indigenous vaccine could get more difficult.

Text Size:

New Delhi: If you are yet to get your first Covid-19 shot and want to opt for Covaxin, securing a slot could prove to be difficult in the coming days as more and more adolescents register for the jab.

In a communication to states on 28 December, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan wrote that according to data available with the Registrar General of India, there are 7.40 crore individual aged between 15-18 years in India. Two doses of the vaccine have to be administered over a 28-day gap. 

For vaccinating 7.4 crore children, India would need approximately 16 crore doses of Covaxin (budgeting to a 10 per cent wastage).

India currently has a Covaxin stockpile of about five crore doses available with the states and expects another 10 crore doses in the next two months, sources told ThePrint.

Covaxin is the only vaccine currently being administered to people in the 15-18 age group.

In the daily morning announcement about the vaccine doses currently with states, the Press Information Bureau Tuesday said 19.69 crore doses of Covid vaccine (including Covishield) are currently available with states.

“We currently have about 5 crore doses of Covaxin available with us (with states) and expect another 10 crore doses to come in over the next two months,” a senior government official told ThePrint.

There is one more vaccine that is approved for use in 12-18 year olds but the Narendra Modi government has mandated that only Covaxin should be used in adolescents, even as it has placed orders for Zycov-D, the world’s first DNA vaccine.

So far, the lion’s share of vaccines administered in India has been Covishield. Of the 147 crore vaccine doses administered so far, just a little over 16.61 crore have been of Covaxin.

Also read: Delhi imposes weekend curfew as Covid cases surge, but buses & Metro to run at full capacity

‘No supply concerns’

People who have been given Covaxin for the first dose will need to get their second shots. Additionally, there are also upcoming vaccination schedules that can stretch Covaxin supplies. This includes the administration of the precaution dose to healthcare and frontline workers and senior citizens who have completed nine months since they got the second Covid shot.

However, officials in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said there are no concerns about Covaxin supplies currently.

“You have to understand that for adults only the second dose is our liability, which means that we have to ensure anybody who got Covaxin first dose gets their second shot on time. Also all of these children will not get vaccinated at one go,” a senior health ministry official said on condition of anonymity.

“We do not currently have any supply concerns. In fact we are confident that we will also have enough Covaxin for precaution doses if required because that again will come up over a period of time when more supplies will come in,” the official added.

To address a possible supply crunch as well as boost immunity, there have been calls for mixing vaccines. While there is no official word on this yet, ministry officials said given that there are no large scale Indian trials on vaccine mixing, consensus is increasingly towards using the same shot for the precaution dose. 

“We have told Parliament that trials are on on vaccine mixing. We cannot possibly go ahead and decide to do that before the trial results are out,” the official said. 

A small study by a Hyderabad hospital has found that mixing of Covaxin and Covishield elicits four times as much immune response.

Zycov-D to be used in adults for now

Even as one crore Zycod-D vaccines have been ordered, the Modi government is currently of the view that the first shots of the three-dose six-shot new vaccine, which is built on a platform not known at all, will be given to adults and not children. However, the vaccine has got regulatory approval for use in minors.

“It is a new vaccine. Let it be used in adults first and let confidence be built on the vaccine. Then we will see about kids,” the official quoted above said.

Also read: ‘IHU’ or B.1.640.2 — the new Covid variant detected in France which has 46 mutations


Subscribe to our channels on YouTube & Telegram

Support Our Journalism

India needs fair, non-hyphenated and questioning journalism, packed with on-ground reporting. ThePrint – with exceptional reporters, columnists and editors – is doing just that.

Sustaining this needs support from wonderful readers like you.

Whether you live in India or overseas, you can take a paid subscription by clicking here.

Support Our Journalism

Most Popular