By Express News Service
NEW DELHI: The Centre on Monday said it has ordered 11 crore doses of Covishield vaccine and five crore doses of Covaxin, which will help ramp up the country’s vaccine drive amid a surge in Covid-19 cases. Once delivered the new supplies will ease the vaccine shortage and will last through July.
It comes amid complaints that the Centre has not placed any fresh orders for the supply of vaccines.
The Union Health Ministry said the government has paid a full advance of Rs 1732.50 crore to the Serum Institute of India, the maker of Covishield, on April 28 for 11 crore doses. That works out to Rs 157.5 per dose. The company has so far supplied 8.74 crore doses against the previous order of 10 crore doses.
The ministry said the government has paid Rs 787.50 crore to Bharat Biotech for 5 crore doses of Covaxin. Bharat Biotech has delivered about 88 lakh doses of Covaxin so far against a previous order of two crore doses.
“Hence to say that fresh orders have not been placed by the Government of India is not correct,” the Centre said in a statement.
Enough oxygen available, says the Centre
Meanwhile, the Centre on Monday said despite the growing demand for medical oxygen in the country, there is adequate oxygen available.
Additional Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) Piyush Goyal, however, admitted there were issues in transporting oxygen and requested hospitals to use it “judiciously”.
Goyal said multiple efforts were being undertaken to enhance production and quickly transport oxygen to the hospitals and patients.
“It is very important for all the hospitals that they ensure judicious use of oxygen. We need to continuously monitor this so that very judicious use of oxygen is undertaken,” Goyal said.
Goyal appealed to the citizens to not get “jittery about the lack of oxygen in the country.”
“Oxygen is available in adequate quantity in the country and efforts are being made to transport it to hospitals in the shortest possible time,” Goyal said.