Maharashtra allows Haffkine Bio-Pharma to manufacture Covid vaccines

Our Bureau. Mumbai | Updated on April 29, 2021

Haffkine Biopharmaceutical Corporation, a Maharashtra government-owned firm makes drugs and vaccines for serious infectious diseases such as polio.

The Maharashtra Government at its Cabinet meeting on Wednesday permitted Haffkine Bio-Pharmaceutical Corporation Ltd, to start a project for manufacturing COVID vaccines. The project would be implemented at a cost of Rs 154 crore, a press statement issued by the Chief Minister office said.

 Haffkine Biopharmaceutical Corporation Ltd makes drugs and vaccines for serious infectious diseases such as polio. It is a fully owned Maharashtra Government company registered under the Companies Act, in 1975. It is an offshoot of the Haffkine Institute, which is one of the oldest human biological research laboratories in the country.

The statement said that the production technology for the COVID vaccine manufacturing would be provided by the Union Ministry of Science and Technology and by Bharat Biotech International Ltd, Hyderabad. The production will take place at the Parel, facility of Haffkine Bio-Pharmaceutical Corporation located in Mumbai. For the project, the State Government will provide Rs 94 crore from the contingency fund and Rs 65 crore would be provided by the Centre, the statement said.

In view of repeated shortages of vaccines, on March 17, Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Uddhav Thackeray in a video conference with the Prime Minister had requested that Haffkine Bio-Pharmaceutical Corporation should also be allowed to make the COVID vaccines.

Ever since the vaccination has commenced, the state has received 1.58 crore dosages of vaccines and 1.53 crore, people have received, both their dosages of the vaccine. The number includes medical and front line staff and people above 45 years of age. 


Free vaccines

The statement said that at the Cabinet meeting, a decision was also taken to provide free COVID vaccines to all the people in the age group of 18 to 44 in the state. At the meeting, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray made the announcement and said that the State Health Department is planning for the vaccination program and the citizens will be informed about it in advance,

 Vaccines from Serum Institute and Bharat Biotech are currently available, and in consultation with the companies is underway so that more and more vaccines will be made available in the state. The decision to provide the free vaccine unanimously taken in the state Cabinet meeting, the statement said.

The Chief Minister said that despite the current financial crisis in the state, the health of the citizens is the top priority and that is why the decision to provide free vaccines to all the people between the ages of 18 and 44 was taken, the statement added.

The State Health Minister has also clarified that given the shortage of vaccines in the state, for the 18 to 44 age group there would be no vaccination from May 1. Routine vaccination for other groups will continue.

Published on April 28, 2021

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