The Central government did not enter into any pre-procurement agreement with either of the COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers in the country before starting the vaccination drive and it had so far procured 165 lakh doses at a cost of ₹350.25 crore (all inclusive), according to information submitted by the Health Ministry in Parliament.
The vaccine was being offered free of cost in the initial phase of the drive to healthcare and front line workers. The government had procured 110 lakh doses of Covishield manufactured by the Serum Institute of India and 55 lakh doses of Covaxin manufactured by Bharat Biotech International Limited, it said.
The government admitted that it had so far not received any formal communication from the States/UTs regarding the announcement to supply vaccine to the public free of cost.
Giving State-wise details of the distribution of the two vaccines, the Ministry noted that while Oxford/AstraZeneca’s Covishield has been distributed to all 37 States/UTs, 19 States/UTs have been given both Covaxin and Covishield.
Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Kerala, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal – are among the States/UTs which have brought in both vaccines currently.
The Ministry has specified that the prioritised group comprises healthcare and front line workers, persons above the age of 50 and those below 50 with associated co-morbidities.
Refuting that there was any gap between the existing infrastructure and actual requirements, the Ministry said the “vaccine manufacturers on receipt of purchase order, ships the vaccine to States/UTs as per the prescribed consignee list.’’
Following this, the States/UTs further distributed the vaccine to regional/district and sub-district vaccine stores.