At what cost is govt sourcing Serum’s Covishield, Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin – Explained – Mint

As the country gears up for mega Covid-19 vaccination drive slated to start from 16 January, the Union Health Ministry on Tuesday gave a detailed clarification on the Indian prices of the two Covid-19 vaccines approved for emergency use authorization.

In a press briefing today, the health ministry cleared the doubts about the amount and price of procurement of the vaccine doses from Serum Institute for its locally produced Oxford Covid-19 vaccine ‘Covishield’ and Bharat Biotech’s indigenously manufactured ‘Covaxin.’

Amid several speculations on the prices and doses in the market, the ministry clarified the following:

Bharat Biotech’s Covaxain:

-The government is sourcing a total of 55 lakh doses from Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin vaccine.

-Out of these doses, Bharat Biotech has said that it will supply 16.5 lakh doses free of cost. “BBIL will provide 16.50 lakh doses of Covaxin free of cost to the Central govt as a special gesture,” said Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan.

-For the remaining 38.50 lakh doses, Bharat Biotech is charging the government 295/dose, the health ministry further said.

-However, considering that the total procurement is of 55 lakh doses, the price comes down to 206 per dose, the ministry further said.

Serum’s Covishield:

-The health ministry today said that 110 lakh (or 1.1 crore) doses of COVISHIELD vaccine are being procured from SII at the cost of Rs. 200/ dose (excluding taxes).

-Earlier in an ANI interview, Serum CEO Adar Poonawalla said that his company proposes to sell Covishield doses at 1,000 in the private market.”In the private market, for those who want to purchase the vaccine, the price would be 1,000.”

-However, he also added that the Indian government has not given permission for the company to sell in the private market yet.

India has recently approved two COVID-19 vaccines — Oxford’s Covishield, manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII) in the country, and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin — for restricted emergency use.

In the press briefing today, the government reiterated that both the vaccines (Covishield & Covaxin) have been authorized for emergency use and “there should be no doubt about their safety.”

Dr VK Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog stressed, “They have been tested on thousands of people & side-effects are negligible. There is no risk of any significance.”

Meanwhile, Serum Institute began to dispatch its locally produced Oxford Covid-19 vaccine ‘Covishield’ across the country in the wee hours of Tuesday.

The first consignment containing vials of the Covishield vaccine was dispatched from the Serum Institute of India in Delhi in the early hours of Tuesday, four days ahead of the launch of the nationwide vaccination drive.

A SpiceJet aircraft carrying the vaccines landed at the Delhi airport around 10 am.

Amid tight security, three trucks carrying the very first consignment of the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid vaccine left for Pune airport to be flown to 13 locations across the country today.

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