Bharat Biotech has secured a fresh Letter of Comfort from the Centre for another 45 lakh doses of its COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin, sources said on Tuesday.
Out of those 45 lakh doses, the city-based vaccine maker will be supplying over eight lakh doses of Covaxin to some of the friendly countries such as Mauritius, the Philippines, and Myanmar, free of cost as a goodwill gesture.
They also said the company will be dispatching 20 lakh doses of the earlier order in a couple of days, from here.
“The company was given a fresh letter of comfort recently for supplying another 45 lakh doses of Covaxin.
The doses will be dispatched as when the Ministry places orders with the company,” sources told PTI.
After having received the government purchase order for 55lakh doses, Bharat Biotechshipped the first batch of vaccines (each vial containing 20 doses) to Gannavaram (Vijayawada), Guwahati, Patna, Delhi, Kurukshetra, Bangalore, Pune, Bhubaneswar, Jaipur, Chennai, and Lucknow.
Bharat Biotech has also donated 16.5 Lakh doses to the union government.
Sources further said the supplies from the company depend on the orders being placed by the government.
“This is not like a regular tender where there are timelines to supply goods. The order will be dispatched in bits and pieces.
It is not possible to dispatch all the doses in a single shot due to various reasons. The dispatches depend on the ministry’s call,” they said.
Every fortnight, the Centre convenes a meeting through video conferencing with vaccine manufacturers and other stakeholders to ensure the proper supply-chain management is in place.
“The doses (over eight lakh) which the company promised to supply to various countries will be monitored through the Ministry of External Affairs,” they added.
The Central Licensing Authority has granted permission for the sale or distribution of Covaxin for restricted use in emergency situations in the public interest as an abundant precaution, in clinical trial mode.
Covaxin is India’s totally indigenous COVID-19 vaccine developed in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research and the National Institute of Virology.
The inactivated vaccine is developed and manufactured in Bharat Biotech’s BSL-3 (Bio-Safety Level 3) biocontainment facility, one of its kind in the world.