Coronavirus | There is no vaccine shortage, says Health Ministry

No word yet on when Moderna and the Johnson & Johnson vaccines will be available in India

India isn’t facing any shortage of COVID vaccine right now, Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said on Thursday. He was responding to a question about some COVID vaccines that have got their Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA) but are still not available for the Indian population.

At a Health Ministry media conference on Thursday, Mr. Bhushan said that India currently has surplus stock. The Central government has asked States to improve the rate at which vaccination is being done.

India has currently granted EUA to Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin, Serum Institute’s Covishield and Russian vaccine Sputnik V, all of which are available to the Indian population. EUA has also been granted to Moderna’s vaccine (to be imported by Cipla), the Johnson & Johnson single dose vaccine and Zydus Cadila’s ZyCoV-D.

ZyCoV-D may be available by October. The Central Government has noted that they are in talks to bring in the other vaccines into Indian markets soon.

Mr. Bhushan said that India is currently in a comfortable place in terms of availability of vaccines and noted that states have surplus vaccine stock at present. He however cautioned that the second wave isn’t over in India and said that people need to continue adherence to safety norms. He said that 58.4% of the total COVID cases last week was reported from Kerala.

“Overall, a declining trend has been observed across India in weekly positivity since the week ending May 10 and the weekly positivity less than 3% for the eighth consecutive week. 41 districts in India are reporting more than 10% weekly positivity,” he said.

N.K. Arora, chairman of the COVID-19 Working Group of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI), said that vaccine effectiveness data is being reviewed on a regular basis. He noted that currently there is no proposal for change in the dosage interval for Covishield, Covaxin and Sputnik V.

Meanwhile, the Health Ministry, in a release, stated that Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Thursday took over charge as chairperson of the Stop TB Partnership Board.

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