It takes approximately 120 days to manufacture, test and release a batch of Covaxin, Bharat Biotech Ltd. said in a statement. Thus, production batches of the homegrown vaccine that were initiated during March this year will be ready for supply only during June, the company said. To reach vaccination centres will take several more days depending on location.
The company offered this clarification to rebut news articles that have questioned the low supply of Covaxin despite a stated manufacturing capacity of 1.5 crore to 2 crore doses a month in March and April.
“Production scale-up of vaccines is a step-by-step process, involving several regulatory SOPs of GMP (standard operating procedures of good manufacturing practices). There is a four-month lag for Covaxin to translate into actual vaccination.”
Here’s how the company described the timeline:
- 120 days to manufacture, test and release a batch.
- Hence batches initiated for production in March will be ready for supply only in June.
- All vaccines have to be submitted for testing and release to the Central Drugs Laboratory.
- It takes two days for the vaccines to reach from Bharat Biotech’s facilities to the state and central government depots.
- From there they are further distributed to districts and then supplied to vaccination centres. This takes an additional number of days.
In previous articles, BloombergQuint has explained that manufacturing capacity cannot directly be assumed to be the supply in a particular month. Capacity additions by both Bharat Biotech and Serum Institute of India, the producer of Covishield, have been gradual. In both cases the capacity number, actual monthly production of vaccine and its availability in the market are dynamic figures on account of capacity expansion and supply chain realities. A Serum Institute official had earlier offered BloombergQuint a similar explanation but with slightly shorter timelines. the company has made no official comment on vaccine timelines yet.