The Serum Institute of India (SII) has announced that it will price its Covishield vaccine at Rs 600 per dose for private hospitals and Rs 400 per dose for state governments.
In a statement, SII has said, “For the next two months, we will address the limited capacity by scaling up the vaccine production. Going ahead, 50% of our capacities will be served to the Government of India’s vaccination program, and the remaining 50% of the capacity will be for the state governments and private hospitals.”
Comparing the prices with the other vaccines in the world, SII has stated that while American vaccines are priced at Rs 1,500, Russian and Chinese vaccines would cost Rs 750 per dose, making Covishield a cheaper option.
However, the vaccine price will remain at Rs 150 per dose for use by the union government.
In an order earlier this week, the union government said all above 18 years of age are eligible for vaccination from 1 May. As it liberalised the vaccination drive, the government allowed states, private hospitals and industrial establishments to procure the vaccine doses directly from manufacturers.
Of the 12.76 crore vaccine doses administered so far, the Covishield comprises over 90% of the vaccine doses, according to government data on 21 April. Of this, 15 states and union territories have only given Covishield.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 20 April urged India’s vaccine manufacturers to continuously scale up their production capacity to vaccinate all Indians in the shortest possible time. India on Wednesday recorded nearly 3 lakh fresh cases in its biggest jump so far. The death toll has also gone up by over 2,000 in a day.
Interacting with vaccine manufacturers from across the country via video conferencing, Modi said the private sector will play an even more active role in the vaccination drive in the coming days and that this will require better coordination between hospitals and the industry.
In another significant move, the union government has approved advance funds of Rs 3,000 crore for the SII and Rs 1,500 crore for Bharat Biotech, which is producing the Covaxin shots.
Meanwhile, Johnson & Johnson has applied to India’s drug regulator for permission to conduct the phase-3 clinical trial of its single-dose Covid-19 vaccine in India while also seeking an import licence.
They said the company has sought an early meeting of the subject expert committee on Covid-19 of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) to take a decision on its application.