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On Monday, May 20, Apollo Hospitals and Dr Reddy's Laboratories announced that they are partnering with Sputnik V to launch a COVID-19 vaccination programme in India. The first phase of the vaccination programme kicked off at Apollo facilities in Hyderabad on Monday, May 17 and will begin in Visakhapatnam on Tuesday, May 18. The vaccines will be administered following government-recommended SOPs, which included registration on the CoWIN app.
Sangita Reddy, Apollo Hospitals' Joint Managing Director, said the healthcare giant will receive 10 lakh doses of the COVID-19 vaccine over a month's time. Reddy wrote on Twitter, "Delighted to share @HospitalsApollo has Ptnr with @drreddys 2 admin #SputnikV the 1st foreign-made #vaccine to be used in #India to all DRL staff. Additionally, we will be receiving 1 Mn doses (over 1 mth period ) 4 our public #vaccinationdrive as #IndiaFightsCOVID19."
Apollo will receive Sputnik V vaccines from the first batch of 1.5 lakh doses imported by Dr. Reddy's for the pilot programme. The pilot programme will be expanded after Hyderabad and Visakhapatnam. It will add Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Kolkata, and Pune.
K Hari Prasad, President of Apollo Hospitals' Hospitals Division, elaborated in a tweet, "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."
He noted, with the launch of the private sector vaccination initiative, the healthcare giant has stepped up efforts to increase vaccination rates by opening vaccination centres across its hospital network.
"We are also in discussions with corporates to undertake vaccination on their premises. We are currently administering COVID vaccine at 60 locations across the country including Apollo Hospitals, Apollo Spectra Hospitals and Apollo Clinics," Prasad said.
MV Ramana, CEO of Dr. Reddy's Laboratories' Branded Markets (India & Emerging Markets), said the two companies were working together to expand the pilot programme and bring the vaccine to other cities, intending to inoculate as many Indians as possible.
Russia became the first nation in the world to record the Coronavirus vaccine, called Sputnik V, in August 2020. Following that, Dr Reddy's Laboratories and the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) formed a collaboration in September to conduct clinical trials of Sputnik V, a drug developed by the Gamaleya National Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology.
(with inputs from PTI)
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