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Indian hospitals cancel Russia's Sputnik V orders amid surge in free vaccine doses: Report Sputnik V
Image Credit: twitter.com/sputnikvaccine

Indian hospitals cancel Russia's Sputnik V orders amid surge in free vaccine doses: Report

India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 30 Sep 2021, 12:42 am

New Delhi/IBNS: A number of India's private hospitals have cancelled their orders for Russia's Sputnik V vaccine as they struggled to sell the Covid-19 shot amid a surge in free doses administered by the government.

Reuters reported citing some industry officials that low demand and extremely low temperatures required to store the vaccine have spurred at least three big hospitals to cancel their orders.

"With storage and everything, we have cancelled our order for 2,500 doses," Jitendra Oswal, a senior medical official at Pune's Bharati Vidyapeeth Medical College and Hospital was quoted as saying by Reuters.

"Demand is also not great. There is a class of people, barely 1%, that wanted to go for Sputnik. For the rest, anything would do."

From May until last week, private hospitals administered only about 6% of all vaccines shots given in India, although the government had allowed them to buy up to one-fourth of domestic output, Health Ministry data shows.

India is the major production hub of Sputnik V with an annual planned capacity of about 850 million jabs and low uptake means increased exports.

Only 943,000 doses of Sputnik V have been administered by hospitals after the jab was launched in June by its Indian distributor Dr Reddy's Laboratories Ltd. out of the national total of more than 876 million, the report said.

Sputnik V needs temperatures of -18 degrees Celsius (-0.4 degrees Farhenheit), which cannot be assured in every place in India while the AstraZeneca vaccine, the main jab used in the country's mass inoculation drive, can be stored in normal refrigerators.

According to Reuters, Avis Hospitals in Hyderabad has cancelled an order for 10,000 Sputnik V doses despite operating eight vaccination centres.

India's vaccine production, mainly of the AstraZeneca vaccine known domestically as Covishield, has risen four times to 300 million doses from April.

With the surge in vaccine production, India will resume exports in October.

Covishield accounts for 88% of all vaccines administered in India followed by Bharat Biotech's Covaxin and both have been administered free of cost and a large number of government camps, since the vaccine campaign started on January 16.

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