New Delhi [India], December 31 (ANI): In anticipation of the much-awaited COVID-19 vaccine, the government has placed orders for procurement of nearly 83 crore syringes to be used for coronavirus vaccination and the Universal Immunization Programme, a statement from the Union Health Ministry informed on Thursday.
According to the statement, bids have been invited for 35 crore more syringes and as many as 36,433 ventilators have been delivered to government hospitals across the country in the last nine months, with the cost ranging from Rs 2 lakh to Rs 10 lakh, considerably more cost-effective than the Rs 15 lakh price tag in February-March.
"This is important because from the independence of the country till pre-COVID times, all the public health facilities in the country had only about 16,000 ventilators but in less than 12 months 36,433 'Make in India' ventilators have been supplied to all the public health facilities," the statement said.
It also noted that at the beginning of the pandemic in the country, almost all the ventilators, PPE Kits, and N-95 Masks were imported, and there were no standard specifications for these products which are essential in the fight against the pandemic.
"The Central Government recognized the challenges posed by the pandemic in the very initial stages and successfully ensured more than adequate availability and supplies of essential medical items," the statement said.
It further added that from a minuscule domestic PPE-kit production capacity in March, India had now become the world's second-largest manufacturer, with a production capacity of more than 10 lakh PPE coveralls per day.
"There are already nearly 1,700 indigenous manufacturers and suppliers. Nearly 170 lakh PPE kits have been distributed free of cost and the buffer stock of PPE kits available with the Central and State Governments has grown from about 2 lakh in March to more than 89 lakh at present. The average price to has come down substantially from nearly Rs 600 to about Rs 200 per kit in nine months," it said.
Similarly, till March, there were only three suppliers of N-95 masks capable of producing 1 lakh masks per day. But with over 3,000 manufacturers now, the domestic production capacity has risen to more than 8 lakh N-95 masks per day. These are also being exported from India in large quantities and over 4 crore have been distributed free of cost to different states.
"The average prices of masks have dropped from about Rs 40 in March to Rs 12 per mask during the same period," it added. (ANI)