NEW DELHI: Fifty lakh doses of Covishield’ vaccine earmarked by the Serum Institute for export to the United Kingdom have now been made available for the inoculation of 18-44 age group in 21 states/UTs in India, amid a surge in COVID-19 cases, official sources said.
The Centre’s decision to allocate these doses to 21 states and Union territories (UTs) came after Prakash Kumar Singh, director, Government and Regulatory Affairs at Pune-based Serum Institute of India, recently wrote to the Union health ministry seeking permission for the same.
The Serum Institute had on March 23 sought permission from the ministry to supply 50 lakh doses of Covishield to the UK, citing an agreement with AstraZeneca in this regard, while assuring India that its own anti-coronavirus vaccination programme will not be disturbed due to this supply.
“The stock of 50 lakh doses of Covishield vaccine is now available for inoculation of 18-44 age group people in 21 states and UTs,” an official source said.
The ministry has asked the states to contact the company and initiate procurement activity promptly.
While some states have been allocated 3,50,000 doses each, others got 1,00,000 doses each and two others have been assigned 50,000 doses each based on the COVID-19 caseload, official sources said.
The jabs are labelled as COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca’ injections and not Covishield’.
Developed by Oxford University and Swedish-British pharma major AstraZeneca, Covishield is being manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII).
India saw a record 4,14,188 new coronavirus infections in a day, pushing the total tally of COVID-19 cases to 2,14,91,598, while the death toll increased to 2,34,083 with 3,915 fatalities being reported in a span of 24 hours, according to the ministry data updated on Friday morning.
The countrywide vaccination drive was rolled out on January 16 with healthcare workers (HCWs) getting inoculated and the vaccination of frontline workers (FLWs) started from February 2.
The next phase of the COVID-19 vaccination commenced from March 1 for those over 60 years of age and for people aged 45 and above with specified co-morbid conditions.
India launched vaccination for all people aged more than 45 years from April 1.
Implementation of the Liberalised and Accelerated Phase 3 Strategy of COVID-19 Vaccination to inoculate those in the age group of 18-44 years started from May 1.