Over 19 million free vaccine doses will be supplied by the central government in the second half of May

Over 80 million Covid-19 vaccine doses will be available to states, Union Territories (UTs) and private hospitals during the month of May.

According to figures released by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Friday, about 19.2 million vaccine doses will be supplied free of cost by the central government to states and Union Territories between May 16-31.

Similarly, for the fortnight May 1-15, more than 1.7 crore (17 million) vaccine doses have been made available by the Union Government to states and UTs, free of cost.

In addition to this, a total quantum of more than 4.39 crore (43.9 million) doses was also available for direct procurement by the States as well as private hospitals in the month of May 2021.

The figures released by the health ministry thus add up to an availability of over 80 million vaccine doses during the month of May.

Besides, the center has said that more than 2 billion (216 crore) vaccine doses are likely to be manufactured between August and December this year. Additionally, other foreign vaccines may also become available during the period.

Under the strategy that is in place since May 1, 50% of the available Covid-19 vaccine doses are earmarked for supply to States/UTs, as free of cost supply from Government of India channel.

The remaining 50% is available for direct procurement from the vaccine manufacturers by States/UTs and private hospitals.

Giving a breakdown of the free vaccine doses to be supplied over the next fortnight, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said in a statement, "During the May 16-31 fortnight, 191.99 lakh doses of Covishield and Covaxin will be supplied to the States and UTs, free of cost. This will include 162.5 lakh of Covishield and 29.49 lakh of Covaxin”.

The delivery schedule for this allocation will be shared in advance and states have been requested to direct the concerned officials to ensure rational and judicious utilization of allocated doses and minimize the vaccine wastage.

"The basic objective behind informing the States/UTs in advance of the quantum of free vaccine doses to be made available from Government of India for 15 days is to ensure that they prepare effective plans for judicious and optimum utilization of these free vaccine doses which are meant for the age group 45 and above, and for HCWs and FLWs," the health ministry said.

Meanwhile, the cumulative number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the country is now nearly 18 crore (17.93 Crore, as per the 7 am provisional report).

The COVID-19 vaccination drive has successfully completed 118 days wherein 17.89 Crore doses have been administered to the identified beneficiaries through collaborative efforts of all States/UTs.

India is the fastest country globally to reach the 17 crore target in 114 days. The USA took 115 days and China took 119 days to administer the same amount of doses.