Hopeful that all 18-plus beneficiaries will be vaccinated by Dec: Govt

The pace of COVID-19 vaccination across India is amongst the fastest in the world and in view of the evolving nature of the pandemic, it is expected that all beneficiaries aged 18 years and above will be vaccinated by December 2021, the Lok Sabha was informed on Friday.

Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya, in a written reply, said while there have been instances of vaccine wastage in states and Union territories (UTs), but extra doses have also been extracted from a given vial according to the Co-WIN portal.

The vaccine doses wasted and maximum possible doses extracted beyond the labelled quantity are taken into account to arrive at vaccine wastage figures for a state, he noted.

The minister was responding to a question on whether the states/UTs are not keeping up the pace of the vaccination and wasting the doses.

Between May 1, 2021 to July 13, 2021, a total of 2.49 lakh doses were wasted, while 41.12 lakh extra doses were extracted beyond the labelled quantity, he said.

Mandaviya underlined that regular review meetings are held with states and UTs to review all aspects of the vaccination drive, including vaccine wastage, and they are advised to keep the wastage to the minimum.

Regular advice in this regard is also communicated to them through regular letters from the Ministry of Health, he said.

Asked if the government has decided to administer the COVID-19 vaccine to the entire population free of cost on priority basis and if so, the target fixed to administer the doses, the health minister said according to Revised Guidelines for Implementation of National COVID Vaccination Program, which came into effect from June 21, all citizens aged 18 years and above, irrespective of their income status, are entitled to free vaccination at all government vaccination centres.

The COVID-19 vaccination is an ongoing and dynamic process, which is being guided by the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC) on the basis of concurrent scientific evidence.

"In view of the dynamic and evolving nature of COVID-19 pandemic, no fixed timeline at present can be indicated for the completion of the vaccination drive, however, it is expected that all beneficiaries aged 18 years and above will be vaccinated by December 2021," he said.

Mandaviya further informed that in accordance with the 'Revised Guidelines for Implementation of National COVID Vaccination Program', the Centre is procuring 75 per cent of the vaccines being produced by vaccine manufacturers in the country.

These vaccines are provided free of cost to states/UTs on the basis of their pro rata target population, consumption pattern and vaccine wastage.

As on July 20, 2021, a total of 34.83 crore doses have been supplied free of cost by the Government of India to states and UTs, he told the House.

Two vaccines, namely Covishield manufactured by the Serum Institute of India and Covaxin manufactured by Bharat Biotech, that have been granted permission for restricted use in emergency situation by the national regulator are being procured by the central government for free supply to states/UTs, the minister said.

Apart from these two vaccines, Sputnik V marketed in India by Dr Reddy's Laboratories and Moderna vaccine have also received permission for restricted use in emergency situation by the national regulator. Sputnik V is being used in private hospitals for Covid vaccination, he added.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Dear Reader,

Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.

We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel