Vaccine maker Bharat Biotech has started supplies of Covaxin, the COVID-19 indigenous vaccine candidate developed in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research-National Institute of Virology (ICMR-NIV).
The first batch of the vaccines were despatched by air from Hyderabad to 11 cities, across the country, in the early hours of Wednesday. This follows receipt of the government purchase order for 55 lakh doses, the company said.
Without sharing details of how many doses were part of the first batch that was shipped today, a spokesperson of the company said the entire purchase order will be executed with a few days. The government has placed order at ₹295 per dose. The company would be donated 16.5 lakh doses to the government of India. This would be over and above the 55 lakh doses, the spokesperson said.
Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai, Lucknow, Pune, Bhubaneswar, Jaipur, Ganavaram, Guwahati, Patna and Kurukshetra are the cities to which the first batch of vaccines (each vial containing 20 doses) were shipped. While some shipments have reached the respective cities, others will be delivered later in the evening, a release from the company said.
The company expressed deepest gratitude to the country, all clinical trial volunteers and its partners for making this a “successful and milestone public-private partnership for the development of India’s first COVID19- vaccine.”
Covaxin is an inactivated 2-dose SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, developed and manufactured in the company’s BSL-3 (Bio-Safety Level 3) biocontainment facility, one of its kind in the world, the release said. Phase III clinical trials for Covaxin are underway since November and involve around 26,000 volunteers across the country.
Earlier this month, the Drugs Controller General of India had given Emergency Use Authorisation for the vaccine candidate.