The government issued a press release condemning this. The government said in a statement that it had placed an order with Bharat Biotech for 110 million doses of Kovshield and 50 million doses of Kovaxin with the Serum Institute. Advance payments are also said ₹1732.5 crores and ₹On April 28, the two companies were paid Rs 787.5 crore respectively. These orders are for the months of May, June and July.
This raises multiple points:
1) In the budget presented on February 1, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said: “I have provided ₹35,000 crore for Kovid-19 vaccine in BE 2021-22. I am committed to providing more funding if needed. “With so much money to buy the already allotted vaccine, why are vaccine orders being given so many pieces? Also, why did the government have to wait until April 28 when the elections will take place? With more or less one step left to place orders in West Bengal? The last thing Indian private vaccine manufacturers need now is more uncertainty. .
2) When it comes to the covi shield vaccine, out of the 100 million doses of the last order, 87.4 million have been delivered and 12.6 million doses are yet to be delivered. In the case of Bharat Biotech, of the 20 million doses ordered, 8.8 million have been delivered and 11.2 million are yet to be delivered. This is by May 3rd.
That means a total of 23.8 million doses (12.6 million from Serum and 11.2 million from Bharat Biotech) have not yet been delivered in the last order. Basically, in May, June and July, the government receives a total of 183.8 million doses (160 million from the latest order and 23.8 million from the last order). Most of these will arrive in June-July as companies expand their capabilities.
3) The Central Government buys vaccines only for those aged 45 and above and allocates them to the State Governments. Until April 30, only those 45 and older can be vaccinated. There are also those who are classified as health workers and frontline workers, who can be vaccinated. They do not meet the age standard. As of April 30, approximately 124 million people had taken their first dose and 26 million had taken two doses.
That means 124 million people still need to take a second dose. Of course, not all of them are 45 or older, there is always some leakage (i.e. they are also vaccinated under the age of 45) and then, there are exception groups such as health workers. Let’s work with the fact that 120 million people aged 45 or over need to take a second dose. Assuming exclusion categories and leakages, suppose 24 million people over the age of 45 take two doses.
There are 356 million people aged 45 or over in the country. This data is taken from the 2017 Youth in India report. Of these, 120 million took one dose and 24 million took two doses. That means 212 million (356 million minus 120 million minus 24 million) have not yet taken the Kovid vaccine dose.
To vaccinate these individuals, a total of 424 million doses (212 million multiplied by 2) are required. Beyond that, 120 million people aged 45 and over have not been vaccinated. That means a total of 544 million doses (424 million plus 120 million) are still needed to fully vaccinate people 45 and older. Of course, there is also the waste of vaccines. But ignore it to keep things simple.
Against the requirement of 544 million doses, the government has ordered only 160 million doses over the next three months. Beyond that, 23.8 million doses were to be delivered in previous orders.
Of course, there is a capacity limit at the manufacturer level. This brings us back to the question of why, for a country as large as India, there are only two vaccine suppliers. Why most suppliers are not licensed to produce the vaccine, especially Kovacin, developed in partnership with the Indian Council of Medical Research, Indian biotech biotech, we are in a health emergency.
4) 544 million vaccine dose is still required for those aged 45 and over. Everyone who has taken the first dose is likely to take the second dose. If 90% of those who do not take any dose take it, approximately 381.6 million doses (90% of 424 million) will be required. In total, those aged 45 and over still need 501.6 million doses (381.6 million and 120 million).
The next three months are just the right time for the central government to place bulk orders in advance rather than ordering. This gives some incentive for vaccine manufacturers to have an idea of what their future holds. It also helps them to spread quickly and replace the ingredients needed to make the vaccine.
Adar Poonavalla, CEO of the Serum Institute, recently reminded us: “Vaccine preparation is a unique process, so it is not possible to increase production overnight”.
In doing so, the central government will get its vaccination strategy – at least for those aged 45 and over – appropriate. Also, clear communication is needed on this front, which is not present. It will help the government reiterate that there will be no shortage of vaccines in the next few months, which will help reduce the current insane scramble. At once, let’s take the seat behind the campaign; Most human lives are in danger. Clear communication is also useful for good politics right now.
Meanwhile, the central government’s vaccination strategy for 18-44 year olds continues to be confusing.
Vivek Kaul is the author of Bad Money.