India administered about 2.1 crore Covaxin doses till Thursday morning, official data shows. However, according to a report in the Times of India, more than 6 crore doses should have been in circulation, keeping in mind export.
Bharat Biotech on April 20 had said on record that 1.5 crore doses had been produced in March and that April would end with the month’s output at 2 crore doses.
Bharat Biotech CMD Krishna Ella also said the production in May would be 3 crore.
Assuming the scaling didn’t happen, that would still mean 5.5 crore doses by the end of May.
The Centre too has, in at least two separate affidavits, one of them in the high court on May 24, stated that Covaxin production is at 2 crore doses a month.
Further, Ella, said on January 5 before the vaccination drive had even begun that the company had stockpiled 2 crore doses of the vaccine. That takes the total to 7.5 crore. Add production in January and February, which was at a much lower level than in March-April, and you get to somewhere around 8 crore doses.
Of course, some of this may have been exported when the country was indulging in vaccine diplomacy. But all of India’s vaccine exports put together are about 6.6 crore doses. The bulk of this has been Covishield. Even if we assume that 2 crore were Covaxin, a most unlikely scenario, there should have been 6 crore doses available for use in India by this time.
This creates a deficit of at least 4 crore doses. This comes at a time when the country is facing an acute shortage of jabs and states are running out of vaccines every other day.
Despite rolling out a ‘liberalised vaccine policy’ from May 1, it is the Centre that is fixing the allocation for jabs for the 18-44 age group for state governments.