New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The Union Health Ministry on Thursday said that Russia's Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine will be available in the market from next week. It also said that Sputnik V's productions will begin in India from July, adding that the country is looking to produce 15.6 crore doses of the Russian vaccine.

"We will have 2 billion doses [of Sputnik V] in the next five months - made by India and used by India," NITI Aayog's Dr VK Paul said on Thursday during a press conference.

Sputnik V, which has been developed by Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), was given emergency use authorisation by the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) last month. It will be locally produced by Dr Reddy's Laboratories.

Sputnik V, which has been authorised by around 60 countries, has an efficiay rate of 91.6 per cent, the highest effectiveness after Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. Like Covishield and Covaxin, it is administered in two doses of 0.5 ml each at a gap of just 21 days.

Sputnik V works on the mRNA technology and can be stored at minus 18 degrees Celsius. Medical experts suggest that the vaccine is safe and does not have adverse side effects. However, clinical studies suggest that the vaccine can cause headache, fatigue and flu-like illness in several people.

The COVID-19 vaccination began in India on January 16, two weeks after the DCGI gave its nod to Covishield and Covaxin. Currently, the third phase of vaccination drive is underway under which the government aims to inoculate those in the age group of 18 to 44 years.

So far, India has administered around 18 crore doses of COVID-19 vaccines. "In the US, the number stands around 26 crores. So, India stand in the third position," the Health Ministry noted.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma