The Centre on Saturday told the Supreme Court that it expects to get around 188 crore vaccine doses – from at least five manufacturers – to inoculate the entire adult population by the end of the year.
“Total population above 18 years of age is approximately 93-94 crore. As such, administering two doses to these beneficiaries would require an estimated 186 to 188 crore vaccine doses. Out of this requirement, 51.6 crore doses will be made available for administration by July 31 leaving a requirement of approximately 135 crore vaccine doses for complete vaccination to the eligible population,” the Centre said in an affidavit filed by Manohar Agnani, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
In its 375-page affidavit – filed in response to the Supreme Court’s pointed questions on its vaccine policy, the centre presented a roadmap on how it plans to procure the remaining 135 crore doses.
“Sputnik V vaccine, developed by M/s Gamaleya Institute, Russia has received Emergency Use Authorization by the DCGI in April 2021 and is now being administered in India,” it said.
In addition, vaccines from domestic pharmaceutical companies Biological E and Zydus Cadila are in the late stages of clinical trials and subject to regulatory approvals, it said. Zydus Cadila is working on a vaccine for 12-18 years of age and a vaccine for the age group will be available soon, the Centre said.
Walk-in vaccinations have been allowed for all ages and the digital divide is not a constraint for access to vaccines anymore, it added.
“Till June 25, 31 crore vaccine doses have been administrated across the country. COWIN platform registration is not mandatory, people in rural areas can visit the nearest vaccination centre go get vaccinated,” it said.
About 56.24 per cent of the rural population have taken the jabs, it said.
Calling its vaccination policy dynamic and not static, the centre said COVID-19 shots are now free for all above 18 years under the new policy in effect since June 21.
The 375-page government affidavit was presented to the court in response to the Supreme Court’s pointed questions on its vaccine policy.
In a sharply worded order earlier this month, the top court had said that the centre’s policy of paid vaccination for those between 18 and 44 was “arbitrary and irrational”.
The Supreme Court will examine the affidavit on June 30.