The manufacturing cost of medicine or vaccine is dependent on factors such as development cost, Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) cost, technology, vaccine platform and scale of production in different companies.
Under ‘Mission Covid-19 Suraksha – the Indian Covid-19 Vaccine Development Mission’ implemented by Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), facility augmentation of Bharat Biotech and three Public Sector Enterprises (PSEs) is being supported for augmented production of Covaxin, said Mansukh Mandaviya, the Minister of Health & Family Welfare and Chemicals & Fertilizers in Rajya Sabha today.
The three PSEs are Haffkine Biopharmaceutical Corporation Ltd, Mumbai; Indian Immunologicals Limited (IIL), Hyderabad; Bharat Immunologicals Biologicals Corporation Ltd (BIBCOL), Bulandshahr.
Further, technology transfer of Covaxin production to Gujarat Covid Vaccine Consortium (GCVC), comprising Hester Biosciences, OmniBRx Biotechnologies Pvt Ltd and Gujarat Biotechnology Research Centre (GBRC), Department of Science and Technology, the Government of Gujarat is being facilitated by the Department of Biotechnology to enhance the production of Covaxin in the coming months, the union minister informed.
According to Mandaviya, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) has provided 100% advance to domestic vaccine manufacturers in respect of procurement order placed with them. These funds can be used by such manufacturers for their capacity augmentation. The government has also provided financial assistance to one of the vaccine manufacturer M/s Biological E for ‘At-risk manufacturing’ of Covid-19 vaccine.
Further, he said, the Central Drug Standards and Control Organisation (CDSCO) under the MoHFW has put in place a system for fast track processing of an application for clinical trial and approval for the Covid-19 vaccines,
“MoHFW has ensured improved accessibility of safe Covid-19 vaccination services for eligible beneficiaries irrespective of their socio-economic status. This has been done through an increase in vaccination centres, citizen-friendly up-gradation of Co-WIN establishment of 24×7 national call center helpline to address queries from the general public on the Covid-19 and the vaccination process,” Mandaviya also added.
The Government of India is also providing 15 days advance the visibility of vaccine availability to states and union territories with advice to prepare and publicise in advance district-wise and the Covid-19 Vaccination Centers wise (CVCs) plan for accelerating the coverage of Covid-19 vaccination and for the convenience of citizens. Further, a communication strategy is in place which is being implemented across all states and union territories with a focus to sustain vaccine confidence and address vaccine hesitancy. Accessibility to vaccination is being facilitated by involving private CVCs, workplace CVCs and ‘Near to Home’ CVCs. The government regularly reviews the progress of the National Covid-19 Vaccination Programme with all states and union territories to expedite its progress, he further added.
The government has made all arrangements to secure Covid-19 vaccines for the eligible beneficiaries as per production and the availability of Covid-19 vaccines in the country. It is expected that an adequate quantity of Covid vaccine will be available between January 2021 to December 2021 to vaccinate eligible beneficiaries aged 18 years and above, the minister also informed.