NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India’s full rollout of the Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine will have to be put on hold until the Russian producer provides equal quantities of its two differing doses, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd said on Monday.
Dr. Reddy’s had received about 3 million first doses by June 1 and about 360,000 doses of the second by early this month, the company and the Indian government have said.
“As a matter of responsibility, we would not like to announce a full-fledged commercial launch until we have an equivalent quantity (of the second dose),” Dr. Reddy’s said in an e-mail to Reuters.
Dr. Reddy’s, which originally planned a full rollout in mid-June, is currently running a pilot programme under which more than 195,000 doses have been administered at hospitals across the country.
“It is our commitment to ensure supply of component 2 in equal quantity and on time to all partner hospitals to whom we have supplied dose 1,” the company said, declining to share more details ahead of its financial results.
India has approved a gap of 21 days between the two doses.
The Russian Direct Investment Fund, which markets the vaccine abroad, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Indian government expects 100 million locally produced and imported Sputnik V doses to be available in the country between August and December. India is expected to be one of the biggest manufacturing hubs of the vaccine.
India has administered more than 375 million vaccine doses, the world’s most after China, inoculating 32% of its estimated 944 million adults with at least one dose.
It is mainly relying on the AstraZeneca shot and one developed at home by Bharat Biotech and the state-run Indian Council of Medical Research.
Daily vaccinations hit a national record of 9.2 million doses on June 21 but have dropped to around 4 million per day.
(Reporting by Krishna N. Das; editing by Jason Neely)