440 Million more Covid 19 vaccine doses ordered by Centre: On Tuesday, centre placed some fresh orders for Covid 19 vaccine doses. It placed an order of 440 Million additional doses of Covid 19 vaccine. The additional doses ordered by centre consists 250 million doses of Covishield and 190 million doses of Covaxin. This news of additional doses being ordered by centre came after the day PM Modi announced that the Union government was taking back the responsibility for procuring vaccines and distributing them for free to states.
In addition to an advance order of 300 million doses placed with Hyderabad-based Biological E’s vaccine, the 440 million doses are to be procured from August onwards. It will be delivered by December, said the Union Ministry. Dr. V K Paul, health official, NITI Aayog also gave a statement at the Union health ministry’s Covid-19 briefing on Tuesday. He said “Following PM’s announcement on change in vaccine policy, we have placed purchase orders for 25 crore (250 million) doses of Covishield with the Serum Institute of India, and for 19 crore (190 million) vaccine doses with Bharat Biotech… So, we have placed an advance order for 44 crore (440 million) doses from August onwards, for which we will be releasing 30% payment in advance,”
Paul did not specified the price at which Centre will be procuring the doses in the latest order. As per some sources by some officials, there is also a possibility that the 150 rupee per dose cost of vaccine may no longer be applicable, and that the Centre may have to pay more. It was also estimated that the Centre may have to pay more. Last week only, centre gave an announcement related to this. It said that it placed an advanced order of 300 million doses for Biological E’s RBD protein sub-unit Covid-19 vaccine, which is in clinical trials. Paul said that “We are hopeful that this innovative vaccine that is being developed with central government’s assistance, will be available by September, and ₹1,500 crore has already been paid to the company in advance. So, 74 crore (740 million) doses have been secured for the national programme,”
According to all previous reports, and referring to the orders placed in Tuesday and the 300 million doses ordered of the yet to be approved Biological E vaccine, the country has now administered or placed an order for about 1.3 billion doses. These 1.3 billion doses include, 536 million doses administered or procured by end of July, 300 million shots of the ‘yet to be approved‘ Biological E vaccine, and 440 million in latest purchase order placed on Tuesday by centre.
On Tuesday, Paul explained that shift back to the largely centralised vaccine procurement policy was based on the feedback over the past month from various chief ministers of about a dozen states. “We respect the Supreme Court’s guidance and concern , but the government was evaluating the implementation of the decentralised model since May 1” said Paul. He further said that after hearing all suggestions and referring the reports, centre chalked the new roadmap that was later presented to the PM and then it was approved by PM.