Russia’s Sputnik V Vaccine could be available in India from next week: NITI Aayog


Dr VK Paul, Member (Health) of the NITI Aayog, on May 13, 2021, informed that Russia’s Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine has arrived in India and hopefully will be available in the market from the next week. The announcement has come as a relief as several states have reported the shortage of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Dr Paul while addressing the media said that the Sputnik V vaccine has arrived in India and that the government is hopeful that the sale of the limited supply that has come from Russia will begin next week.

The NITI Aayog member added that further supply will also follow. The production of Russia’s Sputnik V Vaccine is scheduled to begin in India in July 2021 and it has been estimated that 15.6 crore doses of the vaccine will be manufactured in that period.

Russia’s Sputnik V Vaccine is the third COVID-19 vaccine that has been approved after Covishield, developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, and COVAXIN, the indigenous vaccine by Bharat Biotech. In India, Covishield is manufactured by Serum Institute in Pune.

Central Government plans to increase doses of COVID-19 vaccine:

The NITI Aayog member while talking about the Central Government’s efforts of increasing the availability of Coronavirus vaccine, informed that overall, 2156 crore doses of COVID vaccines will be manufactured in India between August and September 2021.

He added that there must be no doubt that the vaccine will be available for all. Any vaccine which has been approved by the World Health Organisation, FDA can come to India and the import license will be granted within 1-2 days. He also assured that no import license is pending.

Government in touch with Pfizer, Johnson &Johnson, Moderna:

According to Dr VK Paul, the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of External Affairs, along with the other concerned departments has been in touch with Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson from the initial days of the vaccine production.

He informed that the firms were officially asked if they would like to send the doses to India or manufacture here. However, the firms stated that they have been working in their own way and that they will talk of vaccine availability in the third quarter of 2021.

Dr Paul assured that the government is connected to the firms and he is hopeful that they will step forward to increase the vaccine availability in India. The government has invited them to manufacture along with Indian companies. Johnson & Johnson has accepted the offer under Quad.

India third country to administer most COVID-19 doses:

Nearly 18 crore doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in India, till now. In the United States, the number stands around 26 crores which makes India the third country to administer the most doses.

The NITI Aayog member informed that one-third of 45 and above are protected, this is also the group that contributes to 88% of deaths.

Bharat Biotech invites other companies to manufacture COVAXIN:

India’s Bharat Biotech has welcomed the offer of other firms to manufacture COVAXIN for increasing its production in the country.

Bharat Biotech accepted the offer after a discussion with the government. Dr Paul informed that under Bharat Biotech’s COVAXIN, a live virus is inactivated and this is done only in BSL3 Labs, and not every company has this. He added that the firms who want to manufacture COVAXIN, must do it together and that the government will also assist so that the capacity is increased.

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