India’s Covid-19 vaccine tally set to cross 100-crore mark as Serum keeps supplies going


India’s total number of administered vaccine doses is set to cross the 100-crore milestone in the next few days. The country has already vaccinated 70% of its eligible citizens with the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. Total Covid-19 vaccine doses administered in the country crossed the 92.53-crore mark on Wednesday. Further, 6.93 crore unutilised vaccine doses is said to be still available with the states and UTs.

Serum Institute of India (SII) has contributed a lion’s share to the national Covid-19 vaccination programme. Between January 15 and October 6 this year, the country got 66.98 crore Covishield doses from SII. It accounted for 88.01% of the total vaccines administered.

SII has been operating non-stop through the peak of the pandemic with all employees reporting to work at its Pune plant and offices across the country without anyone working from home. It has rewarded its employees for their efforts and given employees a special bonus to acknowledge their role in vaccine development, production, scale-up and supply.

SII also had the first-mover advantage with CEO Adar Poonawalla getting into multiple deals with potential Covid-19 vaccine candidates and different partners.
The Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 was one of the most successful of the vaccine candidates and got the first of the regulatory approvals globally. SII has since then scaled up manufacturing capacity and by year-end would have four lines, making Covishield, Novavax and Sputnik vaccines.

Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin has not been able to deliver on its numbers and accounted for only 11.51% of the doses administered so far, and a minor contribution from Sputnik vaccines. Speaking on the challenges on scaling up vaccine production, Bharat Biotech MD Krishna Ella recently said in an interview that apart from the complexity of vaccine manufacturing, equipment supplies and glitches in production and availability of talent were a challenge.

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