Hyderabad: With the nation inching closer to having an answer for the Coronavirus pandemic, in the form of a vaccine, syringe manufacturers are busy pumping out equipment for the proposed mass immunisation campaign.
India, according to syringe manufacturers, is expected to require 17.76 crore of these vital pieces of equipment every day as it embarks on what could be one of the world’s largest targeted vaccination drives.
According to Rajiv Nath, founder and forum coordinator of Association of Indian Medical Device Industry (AiMeD), the estimated demand in India is around 180 crore (1.8 billion) syringes every year. With Covid-19 focused vaccination drive set to begin, possibly in the next couple of weeks, the demand is only expected to shoot up. The government intends to vaccinate the entire population of about 140 crore people.
Rajiv Nath, who also heads Hindustan Syringes and Medical Devices Ltd., the largest syringe manufacturer in the country, said the company has supplied over nine crore (90 million) pieces for the Centre for 0.5 ml single-use auto-disable syringes for vaccination, including for Coronavirus.
Last December it shipped 6 crore (60 million) pieces in anticipation of the vaccination roll-out in India in January and hopes to be able to ship 100 crore (1 billion) pieces by the end of October this year.
“We plan to increase manufacture to 80 crore (800 million) pieces per annum by the end of this month and then we will produce 100 crore (1 billion) pieces per annum in the second quarter of 2021 as India gets ready to roll-out the vaccine and 120 crore (1.2 billion) pieces per annum in July-August,” Nath told Deccan Chronicle.
“We bid to supply 22 crore (220 million) syringes from April to July-August against a tender of 35 crore (350 million) pieces sought by the government of India for 0.5 ml auto-disable syringes,” Nath said.
The Pfizer-Biontech vaccine in use in several countries — and not yet approved in India — requires 0.3 ml syringes and the manufacturers in India were told that other vaccine-makers require 0.5ml capacity syringes, he said.
The company had also supplied six crore (60 million) syringes for the dry runs of Covid-19 vaccination exercises.