COVID-19: Commercial launch of Sputnik V vaccine may be deferred, says Dr Reddy’s

New Delhi: As the wait continues over the commercial launch of the Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine, Dr Reddy’s Laboratories has said that it may be deferred.

In an interview with an English news channel, Dr Reddy’s on Tuesday (June 29, 2021) said that the commercial launch of Sputnik V may be postponed due to dependency on imported consignments and quality testing. 

The Hyderabad based pharmaceutical company informed that it is planning to scale up the soft launch to 28 cities by the end of this final leg of the pilot phase.

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Recently, Dr Reddy’s Laboraties had also announced that Sputnik V which was initially launched only in Hyderabad, will now be available in nine other Indian cities.

“The limited pilot soft launch of the Sputnik V vaccine in India has now been successfully scaled up to other cities such as Visakhapatnam, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Kolkata, Delhi, Baddi, Chennai, Miryalaguda and Kolhapur, with more cities to follow in the next few days,” it said on June 16.

Earlier, the roll-out of the Russian COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik V at various private hospitals in the Delhi-NCR region was delayed again.

“We do not have clarity on the dates of the vaccine roll-out,” a spokesman of Apollo Hospitals said.

Indraprastha Apollo had earlier said that it would tentatively start administering the two-dose vaccine by June 25.

An official of Madhukar Rainbow Children’s Hospital said the facility has also not received Sputnik V doses so far.

“There is a delay on the part of the suppliers. They have not shared any specific reason for it. I think it could be related to the supply of both the doses together,” he said.

This is to be noted that Sputnik V uses two different viruses that cause the common cold (adenovirus) in humans. The two doses, given 21 days apart, are different and not interchangeable.

The Centre has fixed the price of the vaccine at Rs 1,145 per dose. On the other hand, the maximum price of Covishield for private COVID-19 Vaccination Centres (CVCs) has been fixed at Rs 780 per dose, while that of Covaxin at Rs 1,410 per dose.

Russia’s Gamaleya National Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology has developed the vaccine and the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) is marketing it globally.

Dr Reddy’s Laboratories has been importing the shots from Russia and in the coming weeks, the vaccine is also going to be manufactured in India.

According to Gamaleya and the RDIF, Sputnik V has demonstrated an efficacy rate of 92 per cent.

Meanwhile, top officials of the Union government informed a parliamentary panel on Monday (June 28) that 135 crore jabs will be made available in the country during the August-December period this year. The doses would be reportedly of Covishield, Covaxin, Bio E Subunit vaccine, Zydus Cadila’s DNA vaccine and Sputnik V.

(With agency inputs)

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