Dr Reddy's Laboratories and Apollo Hospitals have collaborated to start COVID-19 vaccination programme with Russian vaccine Sputnik V.
In a joint statement, they said the first phase of the vaccination programme will start in Hyderabad on Monday and in Visakhapatnam on Tuesday.
"This pilot phase will allow Dr Reddy's and Apollo to test the arrangements and cold chain logistics and prepare for the launch. We are confident that with the Sputnik V vaccine, we will be able to make a significant contribution to ease availability and access to COVID vaccines to the community at large," Apollo Hospitals President - Hospitals Division K Hari Prasad said in the statement.
Apollo Hospital is also in discussions with corporates to undertake vaccination on their premises. "We are currently administering COVID vaccine at 60 locations across the country including Apollo Hospitals, Apollo Spectra hospitals and Apollo Clinics," Prasad said.
Vaccination through Sputnik V will follow the procedure recommended by the government, including registration on CoWIN portal.
Dr Reddy's Laboratories CEO - Branded Markets (India & Emerging Markets) MV Ramana said the two entities are working to scale up the pilot and take the vaccine to other cities with an aim to inoculate as many Indians as possible.
The pilot programme will later be extended to Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Kolkata, and Pune.
The vaccines for the programme will be supplied from 1.5 lakh doses of Sputnik V imported in the first batch. India has so far received two consignments of the vaccine.
The human adenoviral vector-based platform was developed by Russia's Gamaleya National Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology. It was registered in Russia in August 2020.
In September 2020, Dr Reddy's partnered with the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) to conduct the clinical trials of Sputnik V, and for its distribution rights in India. Last month, Dr Reddy's received approval from the Indian drug regulator for restricted emergency use of Sputnik V.
RDIF has partnered many Indian pharma companies, including Panacea Biotec, Stelis Biopharma, Gland Pharma and Virchow Biotech Private Limited, for production of Sputnik V. While the vaccine will be imported initially, later it will be manufactured in the country.
(With inputs from PTI)