New Delhi, Mar 16 (PTI) The government has provided 5.86 crore doses of 'Made in India' COVID-19 vaccines to 71 countries as grant as well as commercial sales by manufacturers and as part of international agreements of manufacturers till March 15, Rajya Sabha was informed Tuesday.
External supplies are being undertaken with due regard to domestic production, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said in a written reply.
'Priority is accorded to utilisation of doses within the country and ensuring adequate availability for the national vaccination programme,' he said.
'As on March 15, 2021, a total of 5.86 crore doses of 'Made in India' COVID-19 vaccines have been provided to 71 countries as grant by Govt. of India, as well as commercial sales by manufacturers and as part of international agreements of manufacturers with COVAX facility which has more than 190 member countries,' Vardhan said, providing details of the export of 'Made in India' COVID-19 vaccines.
On whether the government is considering to provide COVID-19 vaccines to all citizens free of cost, he said the vaccine is being given free of cost at government COVID-19 vaccination centres while at private facilities, it is available at a ceiling cost of Rs 250 per dose per person. In response to a question on whether the process of vaccination is going at a very slow pace, Vardhan said, 'The current rate of COVID-19 vaccination is satisfactory and is being further increased through increase in number of COVID-19 Vaccination Centres (CVCs) in both government and private health facilities.' The National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC) has prioritised healthcare workers, frontline workers, persons aged 60 years and above, and those aged between 45 and 59 years with 20 identified comorbidities for COVID-19 vaccination. The COVID-19 vaccination is an ongoing and dynamic process, which is being expanded to include beneficiary groups as prioritised by NEGVAC. In view of dynamic nature of COVID-19 pandemic and inclusion of new priority groups, no time frame at present can be indicated for completion of vaccination, he said. PTI PLB ZMN