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The Union Health Ministry has asked global vaccine alliance GAVI to provide 5 crore of the 10 crore doses of Covishield allocated to India under the COVAX facility free of charge, official sources said on Friday. .

Amid rising coronavirus cases in the country, the government on Friday began providing free precautionary doses to people aged 18 and over for the next 75 days as part of the ‘COVID Amrit Mahostava vaccination’. .

According to an official source, Prakash Kumar Singh, Director (Government and Regulatory Affairs) of Serum Institute of India, had written a letter to the Ministry of Health in April for the use of 10 crore doses of Covishield donated by GAVI for free.

“As Covid cases rise again in our country, the use of these 100 million (10 crore) doses of Covishield vaccine immediately available free of charge by GAVI to our citizens at the earliest would be beneficial in controlling the upsurge of COVID- 19. This will play a crucial role in continuing the world’s largest vaccination campaign under the visionary leadership of our Prime Minister Narendra Modi Ji towards its successful completion,” Singh learned in his letter to the ministry in April.

The Pune-based SII had said that if these 10 crore free doses of Covishield are not taken by the Indian government in a timely manner, it will lead to waste of life-saving vaccines amid the pandemic outbreak.

According to sources, after the use of 5 crore doses of Covishield, the requirement will be reviewed and if necessary, GAVI will be asked to provide the remaining 5 crore doses.

Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, is a public-private partnership helping to immunize half of the world’s children against some of the world’s deadliest diseases.

He coordinates the COVAX facility, which offers governments the opportunity to benefit from a broad portfolio of COVID-19 candidate vaccines using a range of technology platforms, produced by more manufacturers around the world, with a larger market. to ensure the security of the request.

To date, 75 high-income economies have formally committed to join the mechanism, in addition to the 92 low- and middle-income economies eligible for Gavi COVAX AMC support.