American companies Pfizer and Moderna have turned down requests to supply Delhi and Punjab with their vaccines. "In both waves, data showed that these infections are low in children, and they have very mild symptoms", Guleria said.
By November 2020, many countries had advance-purchased hundreds of millions of doses of the vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson and Johnson.
Lav Agarwal, a joint secretary in the Union ministry, said the Centre would facilitate regulatory approvals and procurements of vaccines when they become available, amid concerns expressed by Delhi and Punjab that the companies had indicated they would deal only with the Centre.
The company also said discussions with the centre - to roll out its vaccine in India - were "ongoing". "At least 85 countries approved Pfizer vaccine and started procuring and vaccinating, but in India, we have not yet given approval", he said. Out of them, Bharat Biotech has struck a deal with only two companies.
On-site registration and appointment has now been enabled for the 18-44 years age group on the CoWIN platform for COVID-19 vaccination, the Union Health Ministry said on Monday.
Delhi has had to largely shut vaccination centres for those in the 18-44 category as vaccines have run out. And this is not just in Delhi, the entire country is facing this issue because of the Centre's poor planning.
Over 1 cr of 18-44 group vaxed nationwide till date As of Monday, 1,06,21,235 people of 18-44 age group in India have been vaccinated, 23 days after implementation of the Liberalized and Accelerated Phase-3 strategy of covid-19 vaccination on May 1. So, we reached out to foreign manufacturers and they have said they will only give to the Centre.
Supply of the rest, it effectively said, would be the problem of individual states, triggering a potential bidding war and stand-off over vaccines, much like with oxygen over the past weeks.
Separately, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan Monday asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to assess state-wise demand for vaccines and float a global tender.
Around 15.5 crore doses have been sought from overseas.
Although the clinical trial did not examine efficacy, no children who were given the immunization fell ill with the virus within 14 of their second dose while four children given the placebo later tested positive. "Their order books (are) already full". The Centre talked to Moderna, and Pfizer, and completed negotiations within 2-3 days.
Of these only Sputnik is now approved for use in India, meaning that even if a deal were to be struck, it will still require the national drug regulator to sign off.
These vaccines are manufactured in batches and every batch has to be sent to the government's Central Drugs Laboratory in Kasauli, Himachal Pradesh, for testing, which takes a day for the testing process and then these batches enter the country's supply chain. Bharat Biotech, which is manufacturing Covaxin, is willing to share its formula with everyone.
All three have waived indemnity and are already supplying states directly.