New Delhi: Amid a political war of words between the Centre and the Delhi government over the availability of sufficient vaccines to inoculate all adults in the national capital, the central government said Thursday it will provide all possible assistance to all companies willing to manufacture the vaccine to ramp up the supply. The Centre however, flagged the non-availability of a sophisticated laboratory with most vaccine makers that are necessary to produce the indigenously developed Covaxin jab.
The Centre also rejected Delhi government’s claim that Covaxin maker Bharat Biotech has refused to provide ‘additional’ vaccine doses to it. The Centre said the national capital has received over 15 lakh doses of the vaccine and its role is to facilitate the states.
Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia had alleged Tuesday that the Covaxin manufacturer in a letter said it cannot provide the Delhi government vaccines due to unavailability, under instruction of government officials concerned.
“It means that the central government is controlling supply of the vaccine,” Sisodia, who is a senior Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader, had said.
Addressing a briefing Thursday of the Union Health Ministry, Niti Aayog Member (Health), VK Paul said Government of India’s role is to facilitate. “We refute (the charge) that there is any pressure on anybody not to supply to any particular state,” Paul said. He added that such charges affect the morale of vaccine manufacturers. “It is because of them that we are in the position of not asking others (countries for vaccines),” Paul informed. He added that Bharat Biotech is also ramping up its capacity and has already roped in three public sector undertakings.
Earlier, Delhi Chief Minister and AAP national convenor Arvind Kejriwal had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Kejrfiwal said the Centre should share the vaccine formula of Covaxin and Covishield with other capable pharmaceutical companies to scale up production in the India.
On increasing production of Covaxin, Paul said Bharat Biotech has already welcomed the move of ramping up production of doses by involving other players. They also reached out and under this initiative, our PSUs have been connected to this process,” he said.