There is a need to roll out incentives for COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers to help them ramp up production in a bid to cater to the rising demand across the country, industry body FICCI said on Tuesday.
The government also needs to give provisions for immediate and sufficient grants and subsidies, through its COVID funds, for those manufacturers that are already developing or manufacturing COVID vaccines in the country, it noted.
"There is an urgent and critical need to encourage vaccine manufacturers to substantially augment their capacities for production. Since the cost of vaccines have been capped by the government, the vaccine manufacturers need to be provided with appropriate incentives for ramping up the production," FICCI said in a statement.
The industry body has recommended financing under the PLI-type scheme to support vaccine manufacturers, it added.
While welcoming the approval of the Sputnik V vaccine for emergency use, the industry body said that vaccines that are proven and successful in other markets should be encouraged to be brought into India at the earliest, in order to maintain supply chains.
"This should be considered for import and sale of international vaccines as well as initiate manufacturing of such vaccines in the country. Given that most of these vaccines have extensive dossiers and data on their safety and efficacy for large populations, including for Indians living abroad, we should waive off the need for Indian clinical trial data," it added.
FICCI noted that many states have been facing a shortage of COVID vaccines over the past few days, including locations in Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and Bihar, compelling state governments to scale down their daily vaccination targets.
"India intends to vaccinate a priority population of 30 crores by August 2021. Given that 10.85 crore people have received at least the first dose of COVID vaccination and going with the current rate of 30 lakh vaccinations per day, we would need more than 38 crore doses (of two-dose vaccines) to fully vaccinate this priority group," it said.
According to reports, the Indian government has 2.04 crore doses in the pipeline for the next few days, FICCI stated.
"With the current strategy and vaccination rate, we would be missing vaccinating our super-spreaders of the age group 18-45 years, who also form the majority of our workforce needed for sustainable economic activities," it noted.
Besides, since the length of immunity provided by the vaccines is yet not known, the need for repeat vaccination needs to be factored in, FICCI said.
There is a need to maintain the momentum of manufacturing such vaccines for at least the next couple of years, it added.
"FICCI, on behalf of the industry, has assured its complete support to the government for battling together against this unprecedented crisis and keeping the economy from being adversely impacted," it added.