The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Monday (3 May) categorically denied the media reports alleging that the Centre has not placed any fresh order for COVID19 vaccines.
Notably, some news reports suggested that the last order placed with the two vaccine makers (100 million doses with SII and 20 million doses with Bharat Biotech) was in March 2021.
The government termed these media reports as “completely incorrect”, and said that they are not based on facts.
“It is clarified that 100 per cent advance of Rs. 1732.50 cr (after TDS Rs. 1699.50 cr) was released to Serum Institute of India (SII) on 28.04.2021 for 11 crore doses of Covishield vaccine during May, June and July, and was received by them on 28.04.2021. As on date, against the last order of 10 crore doses for supplies of Covishield vaccine, 8.744 crore doses have been delivered till 03.05.2021,” a press statement by the Union ministry of health and family welfare said.
It further added that 100 per cent advance of Rs. 787.50 cr was released on 28 April to Bharat Biotech India Ltd (BBIL) for 5 crore Covaxin doses for the months of May, June, and July. Additionally, against the last order of 2 crore doses for supplies of Covaxin vaccine, 0.8813 crore doses have been delivered till today (3 May).
Hence, the report concluded, to say that fresh orders have not been placed by the Government of India was not correct.
Serum Insitute of India’s official handle too endorsed the statement by the government stating, “We endorse this statement, & the authenticity of the information. We have been working closely with the Government of India for the past year & thank it for its support. We remain committed to ramping up our vaccine production to save every life we can.”
Notably, in March, the Centre had placed a purchase order with the SII for the supply of 10 crore doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, Covishield, each costing Rs 157.50.
The HLL Lifecare Limited, a public sector undertaking, had issued the supply order on behalf of the Union health ministry on 12 March. The cost of the 10 crore doses was funded by the health ministry under the budgetary allocation for the purpose.
While in January, the government had placed an order for 1.1 crore doses of Covishield at a cost of Rs 231 crore.
In February, Centre placed a second purchase order with the Serum Institute of India for the supply of one crore doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine ‘Covishield', each costing Rs 210, including GST. The total cost of the order was Rs 210 crores.
“As of 2nd May 2021, Govt. of India has provided more 16.54 crore vaccine doses to States/UTs Free of Cost. More than 78 lakh doses are still available with the States/UTs to be administered. More than 56 Lakh doses, in addition, will be received by the States/UTs in the next 3 days,” the health ministry stated.
Moreover, under the Liberalised Pricing & Accelerated National COVID-19 Vaccination Strategy, Govt of India would continue to procure its share of 50 per cent of the monthly Central Drugs Laboratory (CDL) cleared vaccines. It would also continue to make it available to the State Govts totally free of cost as was being done earlier.
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