The Centre has provided financial assistance in the form of grant of Rs 220 crore to vaccine manufacturers to boost the production of Bharat Biotech's COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin, and its production is expected to reach more than 10 crore doses per month by September this year.
The Department of Biotechnology, which is implementing Mission COVID Suraksha announced as part of Atmanirbhar Bharat 3.0 to accelerate development and production of indigenous COVID-19 vaccines, has provided financial assistance to vaccine manufacturers, the Ministry of Science & Technology said in a statement.
"As a part of this augmentation plan, capacities of Bharat Biotech Limited, Hyderabad as well as other public sector manufactures are being upgraded with required infrastructure and technology. Financial support is being provided as grant from Government of India (GoI) to the tune of approximately Rs 65 crore to Bharat Biotech's new Bangalore facility which is being repurposed to increase the capacity of vaccine production," the statement said.
Among the public sector companies, Mumbai-based Haffkine Biopharmaceutical Corporation Ltd, a public sector enterprise under Maharashtra government, has been provided a grant of Rs 65 crore for manufacturing Covaxin. Once functional, it will have a capacity to produce 2 crore doses per month.
"Indian Immunologicals Limited (IIL), Hyderabad, a facility under National Dairy Development Board, is being provided a grant of Rs 60 crore and...Bharat Immunologicals and Biologicals Limited (BIBCOL), Bulandshahr, a CPSE under Department of Biotechnology, Government of India, is being supported with a grant of Rs 30 crore to prepare their facility to provide 10-15 million doses per month," it said.
Besides, Gujarat Biotechnology Research Centre, under the Gujarat government, along with Hester Biosciences and OmniBRx, has also firmed up its discussions with Bharat Biotech to scale up Covaxin production and produce minimum 2 crore doses per month. Technology transfer agreement have been finalised with all manufacturers, the statement said.
Amidst the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic and opening up of COVID-19 vaccination for everyone above 18 years of age in the country, there is a shortage of vaccines in the country. However, the Centre expects availability of vaccines to improve from July and plans to inoculate the entire adult population of approximately 95 crore by this December.
The country has administered 18.14 crore doses of COVID-19 vaccines so far.