Wockhardt chairman seals vaccine manufacturing deal

Wockhardt chairman seals Covid-19 vaccine manufacturing deal: Report

The pharma major has said it will likely produce 50 crore doses of the vaccine a year

The deal will help bolster the supply of vaccines, which has come under severe pressure since the start of the country’s second Covid-19 wave. Credit: Reuters Photo

Mumbai-based global pharmaceutical firm Wockhardt has inked a major production deal for an undisclosed Covid-19 vaccine and will likely make a formal announcement within two weeks, the company’s chairman said in an interview with NDTV on Thursday.

Vaccine production will begin in October and the company is set to make 50 crore doses a year, Wockhardt Chairman Habil Khorakiwala told the publication. He added that the company would be the contract manufacturer under the agreement and the primary developer of the vaccine will introduce it to India.

On the question of pricing, Khorakiwala said the final price would be decided by the other party.

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The deal will help bolster the supply of vaccines, which has come under severe pressure since the start of the country’s second Covid-19 wave. Just over 3 per cent of the country’s population has been completely vaccinated so far but the government aims to ramp up vaccine production and vaccinate 1 crore people a day by mid-July or early August.

Indian Council of Medical Research Director General Balram Bhargava has said there is no shortage of vaccines and expressed hope of vaccinating the entire population by December.

Existing vaccine manufacturers, however, have struggled to keep up with demand on their own and the government has been attempting to shore up their manufacturing capacities with funding and facilitating tie-ups.

Last week, Wockhardt reportedly submitted a proposal to the Indian government to produce 200 crore yearly doses of various Covid vaccines, with 50 crore doses to be available by February 2022.

In May, only 6.1 crore doses were administered as the second wave reached its height earlier in the month, while the health ministry has promised 12 crore doses of the vaccine in June. However, to meet its target to inoculate the entire country by the end of the year, the government will likely have to increase the average daily vaccination rate by almost 16 times.