New Delhi: Nearly 88 per cent of all vaccine doses that have been administered in the country till now have been Covishield shots, data from the CoWIN portal indicates.
So far, the Indian government has administered 65,70,84,236 vaccine doses, which includes 50,63,19,944 first doses and 15,07,64,292 second doses.
Of the total 65,28,84,303 doses (both Covaxin and Covishield), 57,40,49,757 (87.93 per cent) of the doses administered are Serum Institute of India’s Covishield and 7,88,34,546 (12.07 per cent) are Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin.
The data shows Covaxin supply has lagged behind Covishield despite the Modi government’s persistent efforts to facilitate the supply of the indigenous vaccine.
In January this year, the government approved Covaxin for emergency use, despite the absence of the phase 3 efficacy data — a move that sparked a massive controversy.
At the time, former health minister Dr Harsh Vardhan had backed the hasty approval by saying, “Vaccines approved globally based on gene encoding spike proteins have protective efficacy of over 90%. However, COVAXIN based on whole inactivated virus has other antigenic epitopes in addition to spike protein So, it’s likely to have similar protective efficacy reported for others (sic).”
Vaccines approved globally based on gene encoding spike proteins have protective efficacy of over 90%
However, COVAXIN based on whole inactivated virus has other antigenic epitopes in addition to spike protein
So,it’s likely to have similar protective efficacy reported for others pic.twitter.com/AOIONrxZcd
— Dr Harsh Vardhan (@drharshvardhan) January 3, 2021
Then, in May, the central government decided to ensure that Bharat Biotech receives clearances from the World Health Organization and EU’s European Medicines Agency.
Covishield vs Covaxin supplies
In July, the minister of state for health, Bharati Pravin Pawar, had in response to questions from Congress MP Mallikarjun Kharge, provided the monthly output of Covaxin and Covishield.
Pawar stated that the monthly production capacity of SII stood at 11 crore doses whereas Covaxin’s was at 2.5 crore doses.
She added that “as communicated by manufacturers”, the capacity of Covishield was planned to increase from 11 crore to more than 12 crore doses per month while Covaxin’s was set to increase from 2.5 crore doses to 5.8 crore doses per month.
By August, the capacity of Covishield was at about 15 crore doses, which was produced at two plants, a source at SII told ThePrint.
According to government data, in January, 58,890 doses of Covaxin were administered as opposed to 30,68,217 doses of Covishield. The numbers of Covaxin doses administered increased to 81,99,452 doses in April whereas 7,98,63,066 doses of Covishield were administered in the same month.
In August, 2,30,79,293 doses of Covaxin were administered while 16,31,52,885 doses of Covishield were administered.
On Sunday, Bharat Biotech announced the launch of the first batch of Covaxin from its newly opened Chiron Behring facility in Ankleshwar, Gujarat. Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said that the plant would have the capacity to produce more than 1 crore doses per month.