India is planning to double its monthly Covid-19 vaccine production to 140 million doses, fighting the struggle with the deadlier second wave of coronavirus.
Ministry of health officials of the country confirmed the new decision.
Serum Institute of India (SII), a manufacturer of Covishield, is producing 60 million doses per month at its facility in the city of Pune, while Bharat Biotech in Hyderabad is manufacturing about five million doses of Covaxin.
The government is presumably dealing with the decision of setting up additional vaccine manufacturing plants, subject to approval by drug regulatory clearances, for the production and storage of the vaccines.
Amid a sharp spike in daily coronavirus cases and deaths, the Indian government has rushed 50 high-level multi-disciplinary public health teams to 50 districts under three states of Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Punjab.
Last year, SII had said it would produce 100 million doses of Covishield a month by February this year but officials said that has not happened yet.
On the flip side, Bharat Biotech is preparing to ramp up its manufacturing at its unit in Bengaluru which was set up for producing animal vaccines.
The pharma major has written to the Indian government for Rs 150 crore for scaling up Covid-19 vaccine production at both its facilities in Hyderabad and Bengaluru.
An inter-ministerial group recently visited the plants of SII in Pune and Bharat Biotech's facilities in Hyderabad and Bengaluru.
As demand for vaccines is growing high, the government of India has decided to cut down on vaccine supplies to other countries including Covid Vaccine Faculty, a global initiative that procures and distributes the vaccines to low and middle-income countries.