Russia's Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine, listed as a third option on the CoWIN site and Aarogya Setu app, was administered today in a soft launch in Hyderabad that will be scaled up in coming days, read a joint statement from Apollo Hospitals and Dr Reddy's Laboratories.
Sputnik V joins Serum Institute of India's Covishield and the indigenous Bharat Biotech's Covaxin in the immunisation programme that in the past few weeks has been hamstrung by a shortage of the vaccines.
The exercise in Hyderabad will be followed by Visakhapatnam on Tuesday, the joint statement said.
The vaccinations would follow the SOPs as recommended by the government, including registration on CoWIN.
Sputnik V, marketed by Dr Reddy's Laboratories, was approved for use in India on April 12, 2021 and granted an emergency use authorisation, reports NDTV.
"This pilot phase will allow Dr Reddy's and Apollo to test the arrangements and cold chain logistics and prepare for the launch. We are confident that with the Sputnik V vaccine, we will be able to make a significant contribution to ease availability and access to COVID vaccines to the community at large," said Dr K Hari Prasad, President, Hospitals Division, Apollo Hospitals.
After Hyderabad and Visakhapatnam, the pilot program will be extended to Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Kolkata, and Pune, the statement said.
"We are pleased to collaborate with Apollo Hospitals as part of our soft pilot launch of the Sputnik V vaccine in India. We are working to scale up the pilot and take the vaccine to other cities, and in the upcoming months we hope to inoculate as many Indians as possible," MV Ramana, CEO, Branded Markets (India & Emerging Markets), Dr Reddy's Laboratories said.
The pilot project will administer doses from the first batch of 1,50,000 vaccines that arrived in Hyderabad on May 1. They were cleared for use on May 13.
On Sunday, India received the second consignment of Sputnik V.
"The efficacy of Sputnik V is well-known in the world. Back in Russia, it is being successfully used to vaccinate citizens starting since the second half of 2020. Russian specialists declared that it is also effective against the new strains of COVID-19," Russian Ambassador to India, Nikolay Kudashev, said on Sunday.