HLL Lifecare invites EoI from vaccine-makers to use TN facility

Our Bureau Chennai | Updated on July 27, 2021

HLL Biotech,Vaccine Lab at Chengalpattu (File photo)   -  The Hindu

‘Govt in dialogue with interested companies to utilise the Chengalpattu facility’

HLL Lifecare has invited Expressions of Interest (EoI) from vaccine manufacturers to use HLL Biotech’s facility at Integrated Vaccine Complex (IVC) in Chengalpattu to the south of Chennai.

The government is in dialogue with companies that are interested to utilise the Chengalpattu facility, said Bharati Pravin Pawar, Minister of State in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, in a reply to queries raised by Rajya Sabha Member P Wilson.

Covid-19 vaccine requires complex manufacturing processes and even Biosafety Level III (BSL-II) facility for the vaccine-manufacture. The BCG Vaccine in Chennai and Pasteur Institute of India in Coonoor do not have the BSL-III facility, and they are not in a position to manufacture Covid vaccines, she said.

Also read: Coronavirus cases in TN drops further to 1,785

The Tamil Nadu government, on its part, has been urging the Centre to hand over the IVC in Chengalpattu to the State government to start manufacturing Covid vaccine. The facility is lying unutilised, and the Centre has already invested around ₹700 crore on the facility, but it needs additional funds to be fully operational. A recent attempt to find a private partner to run the facility has also not borne fruit as there were no bidders, Chief Minister MK Stalin wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in May.

However, in June, the Centre said that it intends to bring in a partner on its own to operate the IVC, for which an EoI has been called for now.

Vaccine distribution

To a question on the details of Covid vaccines distributed to the States, Pawar said the vaccines were supplied to States / UTs free of cost by Government of India, direct procurement by States / UTs, and procurement by private hospitals.

Also read: Vaccine doses lie unused in private hospitals as States cry for supplies

A total of ₹9,725.15 crore has been spent so far on the Covid-19 vaccination programme, including procurement of vaccines and operational cost for vaccination. As per the latest supply order, government of India is purchasing Covishield (exclusive of taxes) at ₹205 per dose and Covaxin (exclusive of taxes) at ₹215 per dose, she said.

To another question on steps being taken by the Centre to get immediate Emergency Use Listing (EUL) clearance from WHO for Covishield and Covaxin to enable Indians move freely abroad, the Minister said that Covishield vaccine is already a part of WHO Emergency Use Listing.

Published on July 27, 2021

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