New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The central government on Monday informed the Supreme Court that it is confident to vaccinate all the citizens in India above 18 years of age against the deadly COVID-19 by the end of 2021.

The came after the top court slammed the Centre over its management of the COVID-19 crisis and asked why was there a discrepancy in the supply of the COVID-19 vaccines across different age groups.

Responding to the court, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, said that the domestic production of the vaccines - via the Serum Institute of India, Bharat Biotech and Dr Reddy's Lab - will suffice the demands of the doses and by the end of 2021 all citizens above 18 years will be vaccinated.

The Solicitor General further added that the Centre is in talks with global pharmas like Pfizer to procure the COVID-19 vaccines. If the talks turn out to be successful the vaccination drive could be completed even earlier.

The Court has also asked the Centre to take responsibility for procuring the vaccines for the entire country. This comes amidst the reports of several states facing difficulty in getting the jabs leading to a severe scarcity of COVID vaccines.

Earlier, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar had defended the Centre’s inoculation policy while hitting back at former Congress president Rahul Gandhi who had questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"India has administered 20 crore vaccines so far and ranks second in terms of jabs administered. If Rahul Gandhi is indeed worried about vaccination rates, he should concentrate on how Congress-governed states are conducting their respective vaccination drives..," Javadekar had said.

COVID vaccine supply scheduled for this year

The Serum Institute of India (SII), meanwhile, has informed the central government that it will be able to supply 9 to 10 crore doses of the Covishield vaccine by June this year.

"We are pleased to inform that in the month of June we will be able to manufacture and supply nine to 10 crore doses of our Covishield vaccine to the country as compared to our production capacity of 6.5 crore doses in May," Prakash Kumar Singh, the Director of Government and Regulatory Affairs at SII, said in the letter to Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

Currently, India is using Covishield and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin for its inoculation program. The Russian Sputnik V has also received emergency use approval from the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) and is administered in few private hospitals.

Posted By: Sugandha Jha