First batch of Covaxin by early 2022: Haffkine

The first batch of Covaxin will only be manufactured by early 2022, officials from Mumbai’s Haffkine Pharmaceutical Pvt Ltd have said, a day after they got approval from the central government to manufacture the Covid-19 vaccine.

Haffkine can manufacture 228.8 million doses annually, starting with 20 million per month in the initial phase.

The 1899-established biomedical institute is best known for its oral polio vaccine that it exports to 40 countries apart from anti-snake venom. The Centre on Friday asked the Parel institute to finish construction of the new facility within six months and immediately begin production.

The new facility will require Bio Safety Level-3 compliance. Officials said they will be able to produce the first batch of vaccines by March or April 2022.

“The process can be sped up. But six months is not possible. It takes 3-4 years to set up a BSL-3 facility. We do not want to compromise on quality levels….” said Sandip Rathod, managing director in Haffkine BioPharma.

Haffkine has asked the Centre to provide Rs 87 crore, of which Rs 65 crore has been sanctioned.