The Centre has informed the Supreme Court that the production capacity of Covid-19 vaccines has been “gradually ramped-up” in light of the immunisation drive.

“In times of grave and unprecedented crisis when the nation is fighting a disaster of unprecedented magnitude, the executive functioning of the government needs discretion to formulate policy in larger interest. It is submitted that in view of the unprecedented and peculiar circumstances under which vaccination drive is devised as an executive policy, the wisdom of the executive should be trusted,” the Centre noted.

SII, Bharat Biotech

The government said vaccine production was expected to increase in the next couple of months.

It said Serum Institute of India has ramped up production from 5 crore doses per month to 6.5 crore doses monthly. A further increase was expected in July 2021.

Similarly, Bharat Biotech has hiked production from 90 lakh per month to 2 crore doses a month. An increase is expected up to 5.5 crore doses/month by July 2021.

Lastly, Russian Sputnik-V was expected to increase production from 30 lakhs to 1.2 crore doses a month by July 2021.

“Discussions for procurement of vaccines from out of India has been going on since third-quarter of 2020 at a time when the foreign vaccine manufacturers were prioritising their domestic requirements. These negotiations are a complex undertaking, which is currently ongoing on a war-footing using all resources including diplomatic channels,” the government told the Supreme Court.

“Hundred per cent advance of ₹1,732.50 crore was released to Serum Institute of India (SII) for 11 crore doses of Covishield vaccine for May, June and July. Additionally, 100 per cent advance of ₹787.50 crore was released to Bharat Biotech India Ltd (BBIL) for 5 crore Covaxin doses for the months of May, June and July,” the government detailed its purchase plans for the vaccines in the background of the inoculation drive amid a devastating second wave of the pandemic.

It said the current manufacturing of Covaxin of 10 million doses per month would be enhanced to nearly 100 million doses monthly in the next 8 to 10 months.