Centre signs deal for second Made-In-India vaccine

New Delhi: Aiming at a stiff vaccination target, the government has booked 30 crore doses of Hyderabad-based Biological-E's Covid vaccine, which is still in clinical trials.

The Health Ministry will make an advance payment of Rs 1,500 crore to the company for what will be the second made-in-India vaccine to be used in the country after Bharat Biotech's Covaxin.

The doses will be manufactured and stockpiled by Biological-E from August to December and is likely to be available 'in the next few months', says the ministry.

The move comes after massive criticism of the Centre's vaccination policy, which fell short when India was hit by a fierce second wave of Covid in March-April. The government had to pause exports of Covid shots under its 'Vaccine Maitri' programme and scrambled to procure more doses to tackle shortage in the country.

The slow roll-out has become a big concern as experts warn of a third wave of Covid.

Biological-E's vaccine is currently in Phase-3 clinical trials after showing promising results in Phase 1 and 2, said the government in a statement.