While manufacturer Zydus Cadila says ZyCoV D could be available by the end or even middle of September, government officials say it is still too early to talk about procurement.
Covishield and Covaxin doses, and Sputnik V, if manufacturing in India meets the deadlines announced, will continue to make up the government’s vaccination programme.
Late Friday, the Department of Biotechnology under the Ministry of Science and Technology, in an official statement announced that ZyCoV D had been given emergency use authorisation. The vaccine is the world’s first DNA vaccine against Covid-19.
Both Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya and the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO), the national drugs regulatory body, in separate tweets made it clear that India now has a sixth Covid vaccine in its basket.
These include the three currently in use (Covishield, Covaxin and Sputnik V) as well as those not available yet, such as Moderna’s mRNA vaccine and Johnson and Johnson (J&J)’s Janssen vaccine. Both Moderna and J&J have been struggling with the indemnity question.
The September vaccine availability projections, government officials say, are based on the manufacturing numbers submitted by the vaccine manufacturers. While this is a significant upward move — going up to 46 per cent from 20 per cent from the August numbers of 15 crore doses — this will still mean that the stated target of administering 1 crore vaccine doses per day will not be met in September. The government had originally claimed this would happen by July.
“We are looking at 20 crore doses plus may be a little more. The 20 crore will be from Covishield and Covaxin, and the plus may be some Sputnik or some Bio E. ZyCoV D may come also,” a second government official told The Print.
ThePrint reached Panacea Biotech, Gland Pharma, Hetero Biopharma, Stellis Bipopharma and Virchow Biotech — companies contracted to manufacture Sputnik V in India — over email to understand the issues in the manufacturing of the Russian vaccine, but did not receive a response till the time of publishing this report.