New Delhi: The Centre is looking to ramp up supplies ahead of the opening of Covid-19 vaccination to all citizens over 18 years of age. So the government has approved a payment of about Rs 4,500 crore as advance to vaccine makers. The amount will be given to vaccine-makers like Serum Institute of India (SII) and Bharat Biotech. This will be adjusted against future supplies, sources said Monday. The government wants to increase the speed of Covid-19 vaccination, they added.
SII will supply 200 million doses and Bharat Biotech is to supply another 90 million doses to the government by July. This will be done at a pre-agreed rate of Rs 150 per dose.
Sources said the Finance Ministry has relaxed rules to allow advance payment without bank guarantee. This is being done to help the vaccine-makers ramp up production. SII will get Rs 3,000 crore in advance and Bharat Biotech about Rs 1,500 crore.
Earlier this month, SII CEO Adar Poonawalla had said that the company would require around Rs 3,000 crore. This will be used to ramp up production capacity for making vaccines for COVID-19.
Under the third phase of the government’s vaccination strategy, manufacturers will be required to supply 50 per cent of their monthly doses to the government. The rest can be given to state governments sold in the open market.
Vaccination will continue as before in the government of India vaccination centres free of cost for the eligible population.