India will start receiving the doses of its third coronavirus vaccine -- Russia's Sputnik V -- from May. Initially, the vaccines will be imported from Russia in limited quantities, though it's not clear how many vaccines will be imported.
After this, the supply will be scaled up as Indian manufacturers will start producing the vaccine, according to Dr Reddy's Laboratories CEO Deepak Sapra.
Sapra said six manufacturing units have been selected for producing Sputnik V in India. Two of these units will begin vaccine supply by June-July, the other two by August, and the remaining two are expected to begin the supply of the vaccine either by September or October.
"The first batch of the vaccine will be imported from Russia. After that, there will be a progressive ramp-up. Two out of six units are expected to begin supply by June-July, the other two by August and the final two are slated to start delivering the made-in-India vaccine in September or October," Sapra said.
Sapra added that they are likely to deliver enough doses to inoculate 12 to 13 crore people in India within 2021.
He said the first batch of vaccines-- imported from Russia-- will be available in private markets. The batches after that -- produced in India -- will be divided between the Centre, states, and private players.
When asked about the price of the Sputnik V vaccine, Sapra said it was yet to be finalised, adding that the vaccine doses imported from Russia and those manufactured domestically will be priced differently.
He said, "We are in the process of determining the price with a goal that it should aid in maximising access to Sputnik V. There will be a cost difference between the vaccine doses that will be imported from Russia and those manufactured domestically."
Dr Reddy's Laboratories, which managed the clinical trials of Sputnik V in India, is also testing Sputnik V for its effectiveness against the new variants of SARS-CoV-2 found in India.
Edited by Mehak Agarwal