Delhi / Bharat Biotech refused to supply Covaxin to Delhi on Centre's orders: Sisodia

Zoom News : May 12, 2021, 03:16 PM
New Delhi: Deputy chief minister of Delhi Manish Sisodia on Wednesday tweeted a letter written by Bharat Biotech in response to his demand that additional vaccines for coronavirus disease (Covid-19) be provided to the national capital, and said that the pharmaceutical company refused to comply citing directives of the central government and limited supply. 

"We are forced to shut down 100 Covaxin vaccination sites in 17 schools due to no supply," the minister said, adding that exporting 6.6 crore doses was the "biggest mistake". Till March, India had supplied more than 6.6 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines, mostly Covishield, to 76 countries.

Bharat Biotech's letter said the unprecedented demand for Covaxin was difficult to meet even as the firm had increased production. " spite of increasing production every month, we are unable to keep up with the demand. Further, we are making dispatches as per the directions of the government officials concerned. We therefore sincerely regret that we cannot make any additional supplies as required by you," the letter read.

Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII) and Bengaluru's Bharat Biotech are the only two manufacturers of Covid-19 vaccine in India.

In March-end, as it was becoming difficult for the two firms to meet the vaccine demand even within India, it was decided that the focus will be shifted on domestic vaccination programme instead of exports, officials familiar with the development had told Hindustan Times.

The Delhi government, meanwhile, has been complaining of vaccine shortage for the past week. A day after saying the city's Covaxin stock was about to get over in one day Covishield's in another four days, the Delhi government said it had to shut down 125 vaccination centres catering to citizens in the 18-44 age group on Tuesday.