2.81 Lakh Sputnik V Doses to be Rolled Out This Week. Will it Help Ease Vaccine Shortage?

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Sputnik V vaccine. (Reuters)

Dr Reddy’s Laboratories in association with Apollo Hospitals on Monday launched a pilot programme by vaccinating its lab employees and their families at the hospital chain across the country.

Russia’s Covid-19 vaccine Sputnik V is set to be rolled out this week after the second batch of the shots arrived in India on Sunday. However, this may not help in easing out the vaccine supply chain as only 2.1 lakh doses are available at the moment.

Dr Reddy’s Laboratories in association with Apollo Hospitals on Monday launched a pilot programme by vaccinating its lab employees and their families at the hospital chain across the country. The Indian manufacturer soft-launched Sputnik V in India on Friday as the company CEO Deepak Sapra took the first shot in Hyderabad.

The second batch of the Russian vaccine is said to be even smaller than the first one. Sixty thousand doses arrived in the second shipment, while 1.5 lakh doses had arrived on May 1. But the government is hopeful that by the end of the year, 15 crore doses of Sputnik V will be available.

Dr VK Paul, member (Health), NITI Aayog, had informed that the Russian vaccine will hopefully be available in the market from this week. The announcement came as a relief as several states have reported the shortage of the Covid-19 vaccines.

The Centre had last week assured that over two billion doses of vaccines will be made available in the country in five months between August and December, enough to vaccinate the entire population.

The vaccine by Russia’s Gamaleya Institute is priced at Rs 948; its retail price of Sputnik V will be Rs 995.40 a dose with 5% GST. Replying to a question on Sputnik V’s efficacy against variants of SARS-Cov-2 (the virus that causes Covid-19), Dr Reddy’s said, “Sputnik V has been tested on some of the variants. The variant on which we have received the data from our Russian partner is the UK variant. Testing is underway on the South African variant.”

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