Russia’s Covid-19 vaccine Sputnik V has reached India and will be available in the market from next week onwards, NITI Aayog member Dr VK Paul said on Thursday. The first batch has arrived and more will be arriving from Russia.
Sputnik V will also be produced in India from July onwards. Hyderabad-based Dr. Reddy's Laboratories will be the first local company to manufacture the vaccine in India.
Dr VK Paul said, “We will have 2 billion doses in the next five months – made by India and used by India.”
Another 750 million of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine, manufactured in India by the Serum Institute of India under the Covishield brand, as well as 550 million doses of Covaxin, made by Bharat Biotech will be produced between August and December, Paul told reporters at a news conference.
The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) has signed a deal to produce 750 million doses a year of Sputnik V in India. Apart from Dr Reddy’s Laboratories there are four other Indian pharmaceutical companies that will also manufacture the vaccine.
The Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine was first approved in Russia on August 11 last year. With an efficacy of 91.6%, as published in the Lancet Medical Journal, the vaccine has been cleared and approved for mass use in more than 50 countries.
According to the health ministry’s data on Thursday morning, 177,214,256 vaccine doses have been administered across the country so far, including 1,894,991 in the last 24 hours.
Currently, the third phase of India’s vaccination drive is underway as every citizen above the age of 18 became eligible for a jab starting May 1.
India’s vaccination drive against Covid-19 began on January 16, two weeks after the DCGI announced clearance for both Covishield and Covaxin.
Several Indian states are reporting an acute shortage of vaccines, even as coronavirus cases surge across the country. The Russian vaccine is expected to accelerate India’s vaccination drive.