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Only 20 million Covid Jabs can be procured by states for 18+ in May

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According to a formula shared by the Union government with the Supreme Court, state governments across India will be given 20 million doses to inoculate their 18-44 age group population from the approximately 85 million vaccine doses expected to be produced this month, according to a formula in which the Centre said it has set quotas even for doses that states can directly procure from vaccine manufacturers.

The Union government has stated that these 20 million doses will be sent to states based on the number of people in the 18-44 age group in order to ensure an equal distribution of doses, but some states have protested that their allocation is insufficient.

Over the weekend, the Centre filed its response to the Supreme Court said, “It is submitted that though the states are procuring vaccines from the manufacturers, the central government has, in consultation with the vaccine manufacturers, determined the pro-rata population of each state in the age group of 18-44 (years) and each state will procure only that quantity so that there is no disparity in availability of vaccines between the states inter-se, either based upon difference in their bargaining power or otherwise.”

The affidavit mentioned the distribution for the month of May and noted that this supply only applied to doses purchased directly by governments, with a different formula in effect for how the Centre distributes doses purchased from vaccine manufacturers.

The coronavirus vaccination campaign in India is divided into two parts: the Union government provides free doses to those aged 45 and up, and state governments and private hospitals purchase doses to provide to any community they choose.

The Union government has mandated that vaccine manufacturers in India – at the moment, the two most commonly used vaccines are both manufactured in India – hold 50% of their doses for central supply, with the rest divided equally between private procurers and state governments.

The 20 million doses allocated to state governments for direct procurement this month are the only ones available for free to those under 45. The remaining fired, ostensibly another 20 million, will be accounted for. According to the government’s Technical Group of Population Projections, India has approximately 595 million people between the ages of 18 and 44.

According to a government official familiar with the situation, demographic projections are likely to be based on data sets that include the National Commission on Population’s study on population projections.

The Union government has mandated that vaccine manufacturers in India – at the moment, the two most commonly used vaccines are both manufactured in India – hold 50% of their doses for central supply, with the rest divided equally between private procurers and state governments.

Although the government did not include a figure for Covishield’s production scale-up by SII, the company’s CEO stated in media interviews that monthly capacity would be increased to 100 million by July.

Several states have expressed concern about vaccine shortages in recent days. In order to fulfil the second dose demand, Maharashtra’s health minister, Rajesh Tope, said on Tuesday that the state would have to suspend the drive for those under the age of 45 and divert some of the doses from this category to the older age groups.

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