Serum Institute of India, Bharat Biotech produces minimum doses of 8 crore / month, but only 5 crore will be delivered at the end of May | India News
Employees package boxes containing vials of Covishield, a version of the AstraZeneca vaccine at the Serum Institute of India in Pune (AP)
NEW DELHI: There is a mystery in India’s vaccination figures that official figures cannot seem to explain. The mystery is that according to government and vaccine manufacturers’ statements, India is producing at least around 27 lakh of doses a day on average, even without taking Sputnik into account. However, vaccination in the first three weeks of May has averaged just 16.2 lakh doses and states are complaining about the shortage.
The government in an affidavit in the Supreme Court earlier this month he stated that Serum Institute of India (IBS) produced doses of 6.5 crore of Covishield a month and Bharat Biotech I was producing 2 crore doses of Covaxin per month, which was going to be increased to 5.5 crore doses per month in July. He also said that Sputnik was expected to increase production from 30 lakh a month to 1.2 crore a month in July.
The SII itself has repeatedly said that its production is 60 to 70 million doses per month, that is, 6 to 7 million rupees. Bharat Biotech CMD Krishna She also said that the company was scheduled to produce 20 million doses in April and would produce 30 million in May.
Let’s take the lowest figure in each case. That would mean 8.5 crore doses of Covishield and Covaxin in May. For a month with 31 days, that averages 27.4 lakhs of doses per day. This is assuming that Bharat Biotech has not been able to reach the anticipated doses of 3 crore this month and has produced only 2 crore as of April.
Now, look at the vaccination figures from the CoWin portal. They show that in the first 22 days of May, India has administered just under 3.6 crore of doses at an average of 16.2 lakh doses per day. At the average rate so far, the month will end with about 5 basic doses administered. However, the numbers have been dropping steadily and the average for the past seven days (May 16-22) has been below 13 lakh.
Even if the month ends with 5 crore doses delivered, the question remains: what accounts for just 5 crore when at least 8.5 crore doses are produced? One possible explanation could be that the quota for the private sector, a quarter of total production, is being underutilized due to a variety of factors, including delays in agreements with manufacturers. But this, at best, could explain part of the gap.
States have repeatedly complained about shortages of supplies. On Sunday, for example, Karnataka stopped vaccination for the 18-44 age group due to shortages. On Saturday, Delhi had done the same and Maharashtra He had also taken a similar step on May 12. Again on Saturday, the prime minister of Andhra Pradesh wrote to the prime minister calling for supplies to be stopped at private hospitals. The reasons he cited were that supplies were limited and these hospitals were charging exorbitant amounts for vaccines.
The shortage is also evident anecdotally and from the fact that it is difficult to find vaccination places on the CoWin portal or app. This is true in all states and districts, although the degree of difficulty may vary.
Which leaves us with the question: what is happening to the vaccines that are being produced? Where in the pipeline between the producer and the people trying to get vaccinated? Are they lost or stuck?