New Delhi: The Serum Institute of India (SII) will start supplying the first indigenously developed pneumococcal conjugate vaccine to the Centre from today, sources said.

The vaccine acts against potentially fatal pneumococcal infections such as pneumonia, septicaemia and meningitis.

The SII has to supply 2.4 crore doses of the vaccine to the Health Ministry by December 2021.

The doses were sent to government medical stores depots (GMSD) in Kolkata, Mumbai and Karnal on Wednesday.

The Health Ministry's order was placed within two days of Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announcing in her 2021-22 Union Budget speech that indigenously made pneumococcal vaccines will be rolled out across the country.

Sitharaman had said that this would avert over 50,000 deaths annually.

India's drug regulator had in July last year granted market approval for the Pneumococcal Polysaccharide Conjugate Vaccine, after reviewing data of all the three phases of the clinical trial submitted by the SII.

According to the health ministry, this vaccine is used for active immunization against invasive disease and pneumonia caused by streptococcus pneumonia in infants.

"This is the first indigenously developed vaccine in the field of pneumonia," an official source had said, adding this would be much more affordable than the ones produced by Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline.