New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Bharat Biotech will likely begin the paediatric trials of its COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin from June, said the company's Business Development and International Advocacy Head Dr Raches Ella, adding that it will get the World Health Organisation (WHO) approval likely by the end of the third or fourth quarter.

Speaking at a virtual conversation with members of FICCI Ladies Organisation (FLO), Dr Ella also said that Bharat Biotech will be ramping up manufacturing capacity of Covaxin to 700 million doses by the end of this year.

"We are happy to have the full support of the government because of which we are able to stand where we are today in this journey. The vaccine is co-developed by us and ICMR. The Government placed an advanced purchase order of Rs 1,500 crore. This will help us to increase our risk appetite. That is why we are expanding to Bangalore and Gujarat," he said.

Ella also busted myths around Covaxin and said that it is safe and everyone should take vaccines. He also said that the success probability of a vaccine is just six per cent from discovery to development.

"In normal circumstances, the development of a vaccine takes anywhere between 7 to 10 years, which we have done in the least possible time. This was never taught in books. This is something I learned practically. The journey was challenging, promising, and fulfilling," he said.

Asked about dosing intervals he said ideally the gap should be between two weeks and can go up to six weeks. "If for some reason you miss that schedule, you need not get panicked. You can go and take the second dose anytime possible but at the earliest possible time."

About herd immunity, he said if the majority of the population are inoculated, that is when herd immunity can be achieved. About cross-matching of different vaccines, he said: "As of now, no mix and match. The studies are on, if proved well, then we can take a call in the future".

Stressing that no vaccines offer 100 per cent protection, he said that the vaccine efficacy can be improved up to 100 per cent protection by Covid appropriate behaviour and following other safety protocols.

Asked why people still get Corona even after taking the first dose, he replied that the first dose gives only partial efficacy. "That is because your immune system takes time to develop. It is a biological process and the system needs some time. The severity of the Covid effect will be a lot less after the second dose," he said.

On distribution, he said right now they are allowed to sell vaccines to the Union government, the state governments, and private hospitals in the ratio of 70:20:10. If any corporates plan to inoculate their staff, they may collaborate with private hospitals, he said.

FLO Hyderabad Chairperson, Uma Chigurupati described Covid-19 as a global health crisis. She pointed out that India is the worst hit and has surpassed Brazil.

(With inputs from IANS)

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma