India to deploy election machinery for 600 million Covid vaccine doses

In the next 6-8 months, India will make use of its colossal election machinery to provide 600 million doses of coronavirus vaccines. By means of conventional cold chain systems, the most vulnerable people will be delivered vaccines. As per VK Paul, the Indian Government has got cold storage facilities with temperatures between 2-8 degrees Celsius (36 to 48°F). Paul leads the group of specialists on vaccine management for Covid-19 that guides India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi. On the other hand, Indian biotech players Zydus Cadila and Bharat Biotech are developing their own vaccine candidates. Last month, Indian pharmaceutical firm Hetero signed a pact with Russia’s RDIF to produce more than 100 million doses of the Russian Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine annually in India.

Supplies and storage

For the time being, Indian authorities are pondering three vaccines for emergency use authorisation. This includes those from AstraZeneca, Pfizer Inc, and Bharat Biotech. However, Pfizer’s limited stocks and its tough storage condition needs at -70 degrees Celsius or less, would probably hamper its use in India, which is struggling with the lack of such infrastructure. According to Paul, the government is also having talks with Moderna, which also needs ultra-cold storage. He further stated that Pfizer despite not having conducted safety and immune response trials in India may get Pfizer emergency use authorisation. However, the decision would be in the hands of drugs regulator.

India is only behind the United States in terms of highest caseload of coronavirus, however the death rate in India has been comparatively far lower.

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