Reviewing the public health response to Covid-19, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Saturday said that India would have 51.6 crore Covid-19 vaccine doses by the end of July. The Minister also highlighted the critical challenges faced by Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat, where there a higher growth rate of covid cases, positivity rate, mortality and saturation of healthcare capacity.
He also added that the lowering covid cases must be taken as a breathing space to expand, revamp and improve the health infrastructure and instructed state health administrators to increase ICU and oxygenated beds, undertake oxygen audits, take stock of the availability of medicines and strengthen their medical workforce.
Regarding vaccine shortage, he said, "Production is being steadily ramped up to cater to increased demand while vaccines that are being produced now continue to be equitably apportioned and swiftly sent to states/UTs. We will have 51.6 crore vaccine doses by the end of July, including the 18 crore doses already administered. Sputnik has been approved. This, along with the slated approval of the new vaccine of Zydus Cadila, Serum Institute of India- Novavax vaccine, Bharat Biotech's nasal vaccine and the Genova mRNA vaccine, will push the availability of Covid vaccines to 216 crore doses in the August-December period."
Furthermore, states have been advised to constitute teams at the state level to coordinate with manufacturers for the timely supply of vaccines through channels "other than the government of India" and coordinate with private hospitals for their procurement.