India's vaccination drive entered a new phase on Monday. Now, the centre will procure all vaccines and supply them to the states. According to the health ministry, more than 47 lakh doses have been administered on the first day of the implementation of the "revised guidelines for COVID vaccination".
To talk more about the government's vaccination strategy and the vaccine supply picture CNBC-TV18’s Shereen Bhan spoke to Doctor VK Paul, the Head of the National COVID-19 task force.
Free supply to the state government has been undertaken in the last few days and that has resulted in vaccination numbers going up.
On the change in vaccine procurement and distribution policy admitted that that government was still learning.
“I would say, yes we are learning. We went into that phase in which certain policy was presented to the people and we followed that for some period of time. It was based on the imperatives that were applicable at that point in time. Specifically, states wanted to have a say in procurement and in the context of health being the subject of a state it was considered wise to go ahead and experiment with that model and we learnt from that model. States gave us the feedback on how to do better,” he said.
On increasing vaccine supplies, Dr Paul said that compared to the last month, the June situation is better.
“Both these companies (Serum Institute and Bharat Biotech) have made a very sincere effort, hand-in-hand and with the partnership of the Government of India to ramp up their supplies," he complimented the vaccine manufacturers.
On vaccine production, he said, “About 90 crore doses between the two of them (Serum and BBT) are visible to us and they are in the position to produce that much for the period of August to December."
Half of the orders have already been placed for these vaccines.
“There is scope for more procurement, now that 25 percent that the states are procuring also to be procured by Government of India. Steps in that directions are being taken. I think we must say that we are moving to the cusp of where rapid escalation and ramping up in now visible and seen through a very sincere effort from both of them,” Dr Paaul elaborated.
As the production gathers pace, the speed of implementation should also see a ramp-up.
"Once the supply rises, its utilisation for people of India on a daily basis can be ensured and steps will be taken that it happens in the quickest possible time,” Dr Paul assured.
For full interview, watch accompanying video
(Edited by : Abhishek Jha)