The Centre’s supply principle in the ratio of 75:25 for public and private vaccination will remain applicable for this vaccine too.
“If there are buyers, up to 25 lakh doses of the ZyCoV-D would be made available to private sector hospitals every month as the initial monthly vaccine availability will be 1 crore doses,” N K Arora, chairman of the Centre’s Covid-19 working group of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) told TOI on Sunday.
However, 75% of the available doses would be reserved for vaccination of eligible adolescents at public vaccination centres for free, Arora clarified.
The needle-free ZyCoV-D vaccine, manufactured by Ahmedabad-based Zydus Cadila, has received emergency use authorization for being administered to children aged 12 years and above in India.
The three-dose vaccine is to be administered with a 28-day gap between each dose. ZyCoV-D is going to be introduced in the country’s Covid vaccination programme by October 20.
“The biggest hurdle or challenge about this vaccine is its slow production. Initially, the manufacturer can only make available one crore doses every month. Private hospitals can procure 25% of the monthly production of ZyCoV-D from the manufacturer,” Arora said.
However, he added that the private sector had not shown much interest in vaccine purchases after the new guidelines about Covid-19 vaccine supply in the ratio of 75:25 came into effect a few months ago.
Covid-19 vaccine manufacturers in India keep the central government informed about their production plan in advance. This helps the government better plan the procurement and distribution.
The Centre also knows about a consolidated demand from the private sector, as state governments collate the demand and indicate it to the authorities.
Dhananjay Kelkar, medical director of Pune-based Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital said, “Private hospitals will purchase the ZyCov-D vaccine, but this time they would be cautious in their approach. Initially, the purchases are likely to be smaller in size to assess the response. Again, the vaccine cost in private hospitals will also determine its uptake.”
Sanjay Lalwani, medical director of Bharati Hospital in Pune, said, “The private hospitals’ purchases of the ZyCoV-D vaccine is likely to be slow initially. It is a three-dose vaccine, hence the vaccination cost is likely to be high which may also negatively impact purchase in the private sector.”