New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Amid the massive demand and need of the COVID-19 vaccine in the country, the Russian-made Sputnik V vaccine will soon be made available for free at government-run vaccination centres across India, Dr NK Arora, Chairman, Centre's COVID-19 working group, said. With this, the Sputnik V will become the third COVID vaccine in India to be available for free of cost after Covishield and Covaxin.

According to a report by the Times of India, Dr NK Arora said that the Sputnik V Vaccine requires a storage temperature of -18 and will be stored in cold chain facilities preserving polio vaccines.

“Currently, Sputnik V is available only in the private sector. Depending on supply, we want to make it available under our free vaccination programme soon. Sputnik V requires a storage temperature of -18°C. Cold chain facilities preserving polio vaccines would be used to store Sputnik V, a plan that will also ensure it reaches the country’s rural areas", Dr NK Arora said as quoted by Times of India.

Dr Arora further said that some areas in the country may have seen a significant drop in COVID vaccinations, however, he asserted that the reduction came due to the ongoing polio vaccinations in the country. “The Covid vaccination programme will be streamlined within the coming week,” Dr Arora said.

He said Covishield and Covaxin still constitute a big chunk of vaccine supplies. “Besides scaling up production of these two vaccines, the addition of Sputnik V and the impending rollout of Moderna and Zydus Cadila’s new shot would boost daily coverage from 50 lakh a day to 80 lakh and even 1 crore in the coming weeks.”

"The target is to cover everyone over18 (nearly 93 crore people) by the end of this year. With a recent ICMR report predicting the third wave by February or March next year, the country had a window of about eight months to achieve that objective", he said.

Arora also said that it was too early to link the Delta Plus variant of COVID-19 with the third wave of the pandemic and asserted that the outbreak of the third wave will depend on the universal adoption of COVID-19 appropriate behaviour. “Whether it will lead to a third wave will depend on universal adoption of Covid-appropriate behaviour, ramping up of vaccination drives and testing and tracing in districts,” he said.

Meanwhile, the total number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the country so far has exceeded 35.71 crore, the Union Health Ministry said on Monday. According to a provisional report published at 7 pm, more than 41.34 lakh vaccine doses have been administered on Monday. In the age group of 18-44 years, 18,30,741 people got first dose of the vaccine and 1,40,368 received the second dose on Monday.

Eight states -- Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Gujarat, Karnataka and Maharashtra -- have administered more than 50 lakh first dose of COVID-19 vaccine in the age group 18-44 years. Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Haryana, Jharkhand, Kerala, Telangana, Himachal Pradesh, Odisha, Punjab, Uttarakhand and West Bengal have vaccinated more than 10 lakh people in the 18-44 years age group for the first dose, the ministry said

Posted By: Talibuddin Khan