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Covid-19: Vaccine production is not a problem for India, cold chain is

India is likely to start vaccination drive around January 2021 and is now preparing the road map for what will be perhaps the world's largest vaccination drive next year. Data shows that India has ample manufacturing capacity (about 2.5 bn doses) that would be sufficient to meet both domestic and export demand, however, analysts point out that cold chain infrastructure is a key bottleneck.

According to Credit Suisse analysts India would need about 1.7 bn Covid-19 vaccine doses to vaccinate a majority of its adult population. The target is to administer 500 mn doses (or 250 mn people) by July next year. The key vaccines the country is banking on are from AstraZeneca, Novavax and Bharat Biotech and the earliest efficacy data is not expected before November-December 2020.

As for the cold chain infrastructure, India's current immunisation programme handles around 600 mn doses and the private sector has a capacity of about 250-300 mn doses. With this, the potential vaccinations reach 550-600 mn doses annually, claims Credit Suisse. Add to this manpower required to give the jab would be around 100,000 people. Mass inoculation of India's population is likely to be achieved only by end of 2023, analysts feel.

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