Covid-19 vaccines roll out in India

India has the second-largest manufacturing capability to produce vaccines

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India has the second-largest capability globally, to manufacture Covid-19 vaccines. Chart from Statista www.statista.com
India has the second-largest capability globally, to manufacture Covid-19 vaccines. Chart from Statista www.statista.com

The morning dailies in India are full of headlines and photos showing the shipments of Covid-19 vaccines rolling out to airports and major cities in a transport cold chain that includes planes and trucks. From the major cities, these will go to smaller towns and centers. The designated hospitals and vaccination centers will start vaccinating front line workers and healthcare staff in the first phase of 3 crore (30 million) vaccinations.

Pune’s Serum Institute of India sent its batches of Covishield (the Oxford-Astrazeneca vaccine) out on Tuesday morning – 12 January 2020. In its 148-page document, the Health and Family Welfare ministry has spelled out the operational guidelines, and the preparations at the hospitals and vaccination centers are mostly in line with these. From the list of those designated for vaccination to issuing an electronic certificate, the entire process is meant to be digital and managed using the Co-Win app.

Katharina Bucholz has written an article for Statista based on data from data analytic company Affinity, stating that the US and India have the two largest capacities to manufacture Covid-19 vaccines till the end of 2021. The US can produce almost 4.7 billion doses, and India can deliver more than 3 billion doses this year.

The largest vaccine manufacturer globally is the Serum Institute of India, which produced 1.5 billion doses in 2015. SII has significantly enhanced its capabilities in the past pandemic year, while some expansion is still underway and likely to be completed in the current year.

The Serum Institute of India plans to produce 1 billion doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, which was rolled out on Tuesday with vaccinations to start by Saturday 16 January 2020. India’s domestically developed vaccine, Covaxin from Bharat Biotech, is also planning to roll out its first 12 million doses, although the stage III trials are not complete. Covaxin is also likely to be the first Indian manufactured Covid-19 vaccine exported. Bharat Biotech has already signed a deal with Precisa Medicamentos to supply the Covid-19 vaccine candidate to Brazil.

India has several other vaccine manufacturers and a more robust cold chain than many observers are aware of. Its pharma industry is well known for ethically supplying vaccines and treatment drugs to emerging countries at affordable prices.

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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