135 crore vaccines will be available between August 2021 and December 2021: Centre to SC

THE Central Government, by way of an affidavit, has informed the Supreme Court that between August 2021 and December 2021, a total of 135 crore vaccines will be available in India.

Giving the breakup of the vaccines, the Centre has said, 50 crore Covishield vaccines; 40 crore Covaxin; 30 crore Bio E Subunit vaccine; 5 crore Zydus Cadila DNA vaccine and 10 crore Sputnik V vaccines will be made available during the said period.

The Centre has said the vaccination drive would get a boost if the government succeeds in its attempts to procure vaccines available outside India, such as those of Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna etc. It has assured the court that for the procurement of these vaccines from abroad, efforts were ongoing at the level of the highest political executive in the country and also at the highest diplomatic level.

“It is submitted that since these efforts are at a very advanced stage, it is neither desirable nor possible to give comprehensive details of these facts. As and when these efforts materialise, the speed of vaccination will be further augmented and enhanced”, the Centre’s affidavit reads.

Besides, the Centre had said from January 2021 to 31st July 2021, a total of 51.6 crore doses will be available.

The affidavit has also disclosed that  Zydus Cadila which is developing DNA vaccines has concluded its clinical trial for between the age group of 12 to 18 years and subject to the statutory permissions, the same may be available in their near future.

It said under the revised vaccination policy, a person below the poverty line and a multi-millionaire are equally entitled to the very same vaccine in the age group of 18 years and above, free of cost.

Digital Divide

The Centre in its affidavit has stated that walk-in [on-sight registration] vaccination is permissible for all and – the digital divide will not be a constraint for access to vaccination. The Centre sought to justify the registration on the Co-Win platform for multiple reasons namely-

  • There is verifiable data available as to a particular number of citizens vaccinated;
  • To ensure that a person who has been given the first dose of a particular vaccine, receives the second dose of the very same vaccine and not another vaccine;
  • The time limit prescribed between the first dose and the second dose is maintained;
  • Only the specified number of doses are administered, in other words, due to the wrong perception, a person may not go for a third dose under the misconception of getting better immunity;
  • The persons to whom vaccinations are administered are given vaccination certificates;
  • Such digitalization through a common portal throughout the country ensures that each vaccine dose is administered to an identifiable individual leaving no room for any pilferage at any level or to prevent any unauthorized person/agency from administering fake vaccines.
  • These digital data can be scientifically used in future, if required, to track and trace the spread, manner and method of virus for not only future pandemic planning but for further research and development.

Centre added that the digital footprint of vaccination data enables the administrators and Programme Managers to –

  • Monitor the overall progress of vaccination throughout the country or any specific State/District/Group through the data available through the digital recording system on a real-time basis.
  • Monitor the extent of vaccine availability and their utilization for enabling further planning of vaccination efforts.
  • Assess the extent of Vaccine wastages and take measures to minimize wastages.

“Digital records offer ease of reference and shall facilitate future interventions based on emerging evidence, guidance and newer vaccines, such as administration of booster doses etc., if and when the same are recommended and also, for policy formulations at micro and macro levels”, the Centre said.

It claimed that these “on-site” registrations, “near to home registrations” etc. initiatives are not only ideas on paper but are in fact very proactively implemented.

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