Finally answering the question of how the company expects to price the product it manufactures and accelerate India’s vaccination drive, the serum institute said it will charge state government Rs.400 and private Rs.600. 50 per cent of the vaccines will be supplied to serve the government of India’s vaccination programme, and the remaining 50 per cent to the government and private hospitals. The company added that for the next two months, they will address limited capacity by scaling up the vaccine production.
The serum institute, known to be the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, said doses will be made available in retail and for free trade after four-five months.
The serum Institute urged corporates and private entities to access vaccines through the state-facilitated machinery and private health systems. This was suggested citing the “complexity and urgency of the situation”
The centre announced on April 19 that everybody above the age of 18 will be eligible to get vaccinated from May 1.The vaccination drive has been liberalized as to allow states, private hospitals and industrial establishments to procure the doses directly from the manufactures.
The union government has suggested the manufacturers make an advance declaration of the price at which vaccines would be available to the state government and in the open market before May 1.
Covisheid, the COVID19 vaccine developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca is being produced by the Serum Institute. Bharat Biotec, involved in the production of Covaxin has not announced its pricing for state governments and the open market.
The vaccine, Covisheild needs to be administered in a two-dose regime. The gap was revised from six-eight weeks which was earlier decided by the government.
Several states have complained of supply shortages while more than 13 crore vaccine doses have already been administered to the people. However inoculating a large section of the population is being seen as an effective way of curbing the spread of the novel corona virus disease.
The second wave of the virus has hit the country hard creating concern for hospitalization, oxygen cylinders and medicines such as Remdesivir and Tocilizumab.
Poonawalla thanked the Prime Minister and Union finance minister hours before the manufacturer met the prime minister virtually on April 20 for ‘decisive policy changes and swift financial aid’ that he said will help vaccine production and distribution in India. The centre approved an amount of 3,000 crore to the Serum institute and around 1,500 crore to the Bharat Biotech for vaccine production. Poonawalla had earlier stressed that the company would require financial support for the vaccine production.