With Covid-19 vaccines all set to be rolled out, the Telangana government has urged the Centre to allocate additional doses to the state.
The request was made by Health Minister E. Rajender on Thursday during a video conference Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan had on preparedness for carrying out another Covid vaccine dry run in the state.
Rajender told the central minister that since the vaccines are being manufactured in Hyderabad, Telangana deserves to get more allocation, and that additional supplies to Telangana would help the state vaccinate cover more high-risk groups.
He said that the additional supplies will enable the state to inoculate not just healthcare workers but other frontline workers like grade four employees in hospitals, sanitation staff, police personnel and people above 60 years.
Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech has developed Covaxin, which is one of the two vaccines approved for emergency use by Drug Controller General of India five days ago.
Health officials expect the vaccine to be available in a week’s time. They have identified around 80 lakh beneficiaries for the first phase of vaccination. They include healthcare workers, municipal and sanitation staff, people above the age of 50 years irrespective of their medical condition, and people under the age of 50 years with co-morbidities. Since the vaccine would be given in two doses, the state would require 1.6 crore doses in the first phase.
Rajender had earlier said there are indications that the Central government would issue five lakh doses after the dry run. It would be followed by 10 lakh doses, and then one crore doses.
Meanwhile, the state has made all arrangements for second phase of dry run on Friday. The process will be conducted at around 1,200 centres across the state.
Rajender informed Harsh Vardhan that the health officials were facing technical glitches in the Co-Win software, an integral part of the Covid vaccine roll-out initiative. The officials are facing problems in enrolling the names of beneficiaries.
Harsh Vardhan assured the state minister that the software glitches will be addressed immediately.
A dry run was earlier conducted at seven sites in Hyderabad and Mahabubnagar last week.
Covaxin, India’s indigenous Covid vaccine by Bharat Biotech, has been developed in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) – National Institute of Virology (NIV). This indigenous, inactivated vaccine is developed and manufactured in Bharat Biotech’s BSL-3 (Bio-Safety Level 3) bio-containment facility in Hyderabad.
The Phase 3 human clinical trials of Covaxin began mid-November. This is India’s first and only Phase 3 efficacy study for a Covid-19 vaccine, and the largest phase 3 efficacy trial ever conducted for any vaccine in India.
In September last year, Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao had assured the Assembly that his government will ensure that Telangana, as the home state, get priority in supply of Covid-19 vaccine as and when it is manufactured by Bharat Biotech.
He had stated that the government will talk to the company and will ensure that Telangana gets priority.
“We will talk to Bharat Biotech. Definitely, it’s a home state and if vaccines are made here, we will get first priority. There should be no doubt. We are ensuring this,” he said.
The Chief Minister gave the assurance when All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) leader Akbaruddin Owaisi raised the issue