Bharat Biotech on Tuesday said that its coronavirus vaccine, Covaxin, has been directly supplied to 18 states since May 1, adding that the company will continue the supply. In a separate tweet containing the same list of 18 states, the company’s Joint Managing Director Suchitra Ella said that “smaller shipments” of the vaccine were sent to them on May 10.
“Quite disheartening to the teams to hear some states complaining about our intentions,” Ella tweeted, in a possible reference to complains of shortage of vaccines from several parts of the country.
Under the Centre’s new vaccination policy for third phase of inoculation that started from May 1, states and private hospitals have the onus of procuring shots from the manufacturers for those in the age group of 18-44.
On April 29, Bharat Biotech had announced a cut in the price of Covaxin for states to Rs 400 per dose from the earlier quoted price of Rs 600. The decision came following widespread criticism of its differential pricing policy as the company continues to sell Covaxin to the central government at Rs 150 per dose.
Transfer manufacturing technology of Covaxin: Andhra CM
Meanwhile, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy on Tuesday asked the Centre to direct Bharat Biotech and its collaborators in producing Covaxin to transfer the manufacturing technology and provide the viral strain to others interested in developing the shot, reported PTI.
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Reddy said this would help in ramping up production of the vaccine.
“It may take several months to get all vaccinated at this pace,” Reddy wrote. “Please explore the possibility of involving all such production firms and enable them with the technology, intellectual property rights to deliver the vaccine as quickly and as affordable as possible.”
Reddy added that Andhra Pradesh was not able to vaccinate its population at large due to shortages in supply of the vaccine, though the state had capacity to inoculate six lakh people a day.
The Indian Council of Medical Reserach and the National Institute of Virology have collaborated with Bharat Biotech to develop the Covaxin shot. Earlier this month, ICMR Director-General Balram Bhargava had said intellectual property rights for the use of Covaxin was shared between Bharat Biotech and the research body.
So far, over 17.38 crore doses of coronavirus vaccines have been administered in the country, while more than 3.73 crore beneficiaries have received both the shots, according to government data. This includes both Covaxin and Covishield shots.