Three pharma companies want to operate Tamil Nadu vax park
After initial invitation of bids failed to yield results, three pharmaceutical companies — Arvind, Morepen and Covaxin-maker Bharat Biotech — have now expressed interest to operate the Integrated Vaccine Park in Chengalpet, the Union health ministry has told state officials.
Work to start vaccine production at the Pasteur Institute in Coonoor is also at an advanced stage, officials said, reports Pushpa Narayan.
Tamil Nadu has been continuously urging the Centre to commence production of Covid vaccines in these two units. The 100-acre IVC — established in 2012 by the UPA government for manufacturing vaccines against rabies, measles, Japanese Encephalitis, and Hepatitis B — was never put to use. TN’s request to the Centre to give the facility on lease was also turned down.
On Thursday, TN health minister Ma Subramanian will meet his Union government counterpart Mandaviya with a host of demands including more vaccines for TN. “We will ask Centre to start vaccine production at IVC and Pasteur Institute, start admitting students at AIIMS in Madurai, and will seek exemption from NEET,,” Ma Subramanian said.
Health minister in Delhi to urge Centre to boost TN vax supply
Health minister Ma Subramanian left for New Delhi on Wednesday to put pressure on the Union health ministry for more vaccines for Tamil Nadu.
Though the average number of vaccinations a day has improved, the state still has to cover more than 10 crore doses. The minister said he would ask the health ministry to make up for the unequal distribution by increasing supply by another two crore doses, he said.
Chief minister M K Stalin had earlier requested PM Narendra Modi to provide 1 crore doses immediately as a special allocation. This will be discussed on priority at the meeting on Thursday afternoon, Subramaniam told reporters at Chennai airport on Wednesday.
Asked if three firms have approached to manufacture vaccines at HLL Biotech unit at Chengalpet, Subramanian said, “We will be stressing on the need to start vaccine manufacturing at Chengalpet and Coonoor Pasteur Institute as early as possible.”
The HLL unit, established at ₹700 crore, has been lying idle for more than a decade and tenders floated (inviting bids to use the premises for manufacturing vaccines) attracted no response.
After reporting more than 3 lakh vaccinations for the past two days, TN reported a drop in vaccination rate On Wednesday, the state administered 2,07,259 doses — 1,57,689 doses of Covishield and 49,570 doses of Covaxin. This took the total vaccination figure to 1.7 crore.
According to Union health ministry data, roughly 30 lakh people in Tamil Nadu received both doses of the vaccine. This is roughly less than 5% of the state’s population.
Some districts reported an acute shortage for a second dose of Covaxin. When the announcement on Covaxin being available broke, people thronged vaccine camps, particularly those in the central region. For instance, more than 2,000 people arrived at a Pudukkottai centre, which had only 500 doses in stock.
In Chennai city limits, people were sent back from corporation vaccine centres on Wednesday due to shortage.
Source : timesofindia.indiatimes