Pune: Serum Institute of India’s CEO Adar Poonawalla told TOI on Friday that doses of Covovax — COVID booster shot for adults — would reach major cities in four to five days, while a Bharat Biotech official confirmed that the company was ready to resume the production of Covaxin.
Poonawalla said cities like Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, Bengaluru and Hyderabad were likely to get enough stocks of Covovax in a week’s time. “As many as six million doses of Covovax are readily available for private hospitals, depending on the demand,” he said.
The Bharat Biotech official told TOI that the firm would recommence the production of Covaxin based on orders. He said Bharat Biotech had already produced INCOVACC and the product was available for supplies.
On Friday, only two hospitals each in Pune and Mumbai, another in Hyderabad and not even one in cities like Bengaluru and Delhi offered Covovax as a booster for adults, as per CoWIN. Only one hospital in Delhi was offering Covovax doses 1 and 2, but only for children.
Syed Marghoob, a vaccinator at the Alshifa Multi Speciality Hospital in New Delhi, said, “We are the only ones offering Covovax at the hospital, but just for children. CoWIN is not allowing us to give this vaccine as a heterologous booster due to some reasons.”
The option to take Covovax as a booster is showing on CoWIN, but beneficiaries in some major cities are currently looking for a Covovax shot as a precaution dose without much luck. Many districts in India have no vaccine as a booster for adults or otherwise.
Vinay Aravind, a wedding photographer from Chennai, said, “Chennai has no vaccine of any kind, as per CoWIN. I checked the CoWIN portal for various districts in Kerala also, but none had stock. I did call several hospitals and they all said there was no stock, hence I was asking around for the availability of Covovax. Only one children’s hospital in Chennai is administering Corbevax, but only to kids.”
Aravind said, “My wife will get admitted to a hospital for a surgery in 10 days’ time. Both of us will be in the hospital for a week or so. That period can be the peak of this COVID surge, as per reports. So, we were thinking it may be useful to get a booster dose because it has been over a year since we took our last dose.”
Arun V from Nagpur said, “I am currently struggling to secure a booster shot for my mother. No slot or vaccine is available in my district at this moment, and the number of cases is increasing. My mother is an elderly patient with a medical condition. As other vaccine options are not readily accessible, Covovax remains a potential solution since SII (Serum Institute of India) had recently announced its availability on social media.”
An official from the Villoo Poonawalla Memorial Hospital in Pune said, “We are currently offering a heterologous dose of Covovax. Beneficiaries have to give their name and number at the hospital and as soon as we have 10 such people, we would call them for the shot.”