Over the next six to eight months, India will attempt to deliver 600 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines using its expansive election machinery.
As part of this move, the most vulnerable groups will be given the vaccine, which will be stored in cold chain systems.
VK Paul, the head of experts on vaccines told Reuters that cold storage facilities between 2-8 degree Celsius can be maintained.
Paul added how four candidates are at the forefront in India. “The four that I can see, including Serum, Bharat, Zydus, and Sputnik need normal cold chain. I see no problem for these vaccines,” he said to Reuters.
The world’s largest vaccine maker – Serum Institute of India, is currently mass producing Covidshield by AstraZeneca.
In addition, Bharat Biotech and Zydus Cadila are in the process of developing their own vaccines. In November, Indian pharma company Hetero made a deal with Russia for the procurement of 100 million doses of Sputnik V per year.
Paul also claimed that the pilot approvals for vaccine use are expected to happen “very soon”. “I am hoping at the earliest because we are ready.” However, no price has been decided yet, but Paul expects a “fair and reasonable price”.
Indian regulators are currently considering three vaccine makers for emergency use – Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and Bharat Biotech.
Pfizer’s high demand and limited stockpile will slow down its vaccine rollout in India. IN addition, it requires to be stored in -70 degree Celsius or below, which would make its usage in India difficult, for the infrastructure is scarce.
“In a theoretical scenario, where there is no vaccine with conventional cold chain requirement, minus 70 degrees Celsius capacities will have to be created, and we will do so,” Paul said.
India is also in talks with Moderna – another major player in the vaccine race. Paul did add that the vaccines are not expected before later in 2021.
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