Increase in production capacity of Covid-19 vaccines will give a further impetus to vaccination in India

The first commercial batch of covaxin from Bharat Biotech's manufacturing facility in Ankleshwar, Gujarat was released by Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Mansukh Mandaviya on Sunday.

Bharat Biotech's Chiron Behring Vaccines manufacturing facility in Ankleshwar has a capacity of 1 crore per month.

Bharat Biotech has already deployed multiple production lines at its Hyderabad, Malur, Bengaluru, and Pune campuses, and the addition of Chiron Behring Vaccines will further augment its COVAXIN production capacity.

The increase in the production capacity of Covid-19 vaccines is expected to give a further impetus to the pace of vaccination in India which has seen a significant rise over the past few days.

According to data till 7 am on Sunday, India’s cumulative Covid-19 vaccination coverage has crossed the 63 crore (630 million) mark since the launch of the nationwide campaign on January 16 this year.

Dedicating the release of the first batch of Covaxin from the Ankleshwar facility to the nation, the Union Health Minister said that it is a landmark moment in India's fight against Covid-19.

According to an official press release, Mandaviya added that it was a matter of great pride that the research and production of vaccines of two companies Bharat Biotech and Zydus Cadila took place in India.

Talking about India's contribution to the fight against the global pandemic, he mentioned how India has always been on the forefront of helping other countries in need with essential medicines to deal with the Covid situation.

He remarked that India was running one of the largest vaccination programs in the world and this was made possible due to the development of these indigenous vaccines.

Covaxin production had begun in early June, before which the team had executed engineering batches to study the equipment functionality at the Ankleshwar facility.

Chairman & Managing Director of Bharat Biotech Krishna Ella said, “Our goal to develop a vaccine with global safety and efficacy standards has now been achieved, we are now marching towards the goal of annualized capacity of 1.0 billion doses.”

Bharat Biotech is also exploring manufacturing partnerships with its partners in other countries, who have prior expertise with commercial scale manufacturing of inactivated viral vaccines under biosafety containment for further augmentation, he added.