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Serum Institute to provide 2 crore Covishield doses to central govt free of cost


NEW DELHI: The Serum Institute of India (SII) has offered two crore doses of Covishield vaccine to the central government free of cost amid a rise in COVID-19 cases in some countries, official sources said on Wednesday.

According to an official source, Prakash Kumar Singh, Director of Government and Regulatory Affairs at the Serum Institute, has written to the Health Ministry offering the doses worth Rs 410 crore free of cost.

It is learnt that Singh has sought to know from the ministry how the delivery can be made.

SII has so far provided more than 170 crore doses of Covishield to the government for the national immunisation programme.

Amid a spike in COVID-19 cases in some countries, including China and South Korea, the government has sounded an alert and asked states and Union territories to prepare for any eventuality.

India has stepped its surveillance and genome sequencing of Covid positive samples.

With only 27 per cent of the eligible adult population having taken the precaution dose, government officials have appealed to those due for it to take it.

Official sources on Wednesday cautioned that the next 40 days will be crucial as India may see a Covid surge in January.

Even if there is a wave, deaths and hospitalisation will be very low, the Health Ministry sources said.

The government made random coronavirus testing mandatory for two per cent of passengers arriving in each international flight from Saturday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya have held meetings to assess the country’s preparedness to deal with a fresh surge in cases.

Mock drills were held at health facilities across India on Tuesday to check operational readiness to deal with any spurt in COVID-19 infection. (PTI)

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