Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan on Tuesday said the COVID-19 vaccine may cost in the range of Rs 200 to 295 in India and two vaccines — Covishield and Covaxin — have received Emergency Use Authorisation (EAU) after going through established safety and immunogenicity in a well-prescribed regulatory process.
Asserting that the central government has been proactive and pre-emptive in addressing the needs of COVID-19 vaccination in the country, the Union Health Ministry said 54,72,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been received till date at the vaccination stores across the country.
Addressing a press conference here, Bhushan said all the preparedness are on track for COVID-19 vaccine roll out from January 16.
“As early as May 2020, a task force was set up to encourage indigenous Research and Development in vaccines and developing pharmaceutical kits. Efforts of the Taskforce have borne fruit. National Expert Group in Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC) was set up in August 2020, headed by Member (Health),” he said.
“A total of 110 lakh doses of Covishield vaccines are being procured from Pune-based drug firm Serum Institue of India (SII) at the cost of Rs 200 per dose. As many as 55 lakh doses of Covaxin vaccine are being procured from Hyderabad-based drug firm Bharat Biotech International Limited (BBIL), of which the cost of 38.5 lakhs doses of Covaxin is Rs 295 per dose. BBIL is providing 16.5 lakh doses of Covaxin free of cost to the central government as a special gesture and hence the cost of Covaxin is Rs 206 per dose,” Bhushan added.
He said 100 per cent doses will be received by January 14, 2021 in all states/UT.
“Till date, a total of 54,72,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been received so far.
100 per cent doses to be received by January 14, 2021 in all states/UT. When I said 100 per cent that means, 1 crore 10 lakhs doses from SII and 55 lakh doses from BBIL,” he said.
Speaking on the preparedness for the COVID-19 vaccination drive, Bhushan said, “All preparations are on track for COVID-19 vaccine roll out from January 16. A total of 26 virtual meetings/training were held with states/UTs, 2,360 master trainers, 61,000 programme managers, 2 lakh vaccinators, 3.7 lakh other vaccination team members have been trained so far.”
The health secretary said it will be a sequential roll-out of COVID-19 vaccination as the vaccine will be available in a limited quantity.
“In the first phase of vaccination, approximately 1 crore health care workers, approximately 2 crore front line workers and around 27 crore prioritized age-groups will be vaccinated. The cost of vaccination of health care workers and front line workers will be borne by central government solely,” he said.
The inoculation effect takes 14 days to develop after the administration of the two dosages. Hence it is imperative to maintain COVID-19 appropriate behavior before and after one gets vaccinated, Bhushan added.
There are four Gross Medical Store Depot (GMSDs) at Karnal in Haryana, Kolkata in West Bengal, Chennai in Tamil Nadu and Mumbai in Maharashtra.
“All states have at least one state-level regional temperature-controlled vaccine store. Uttar Pradesh has 9, Madhya Pradesh has 4, Gujarat has 4, Kerala has 3, J and K has 2, Karnataka has 2 and Rajasthan has 2 stores. These states will receive the vaccine from manufacturers and the government will be responsible to take it to cold chain,” he said.
Regarding the availability of the vaccine in the country Bhushan said, “Two vaccines namely Covishiled and Covaxin have received Zydus Cadila’s phase II trials were completed on December 20. The third phase of the trials begins on January 21. Sputnik V’s second phase trials are completed and the third trial ongoing. Gennova and Biological E vaccines Phase 1 trial are still going on and probably phase two trial will begin on March. Soon you will see that these vaccines will also get approval from DCGI for EUA.”
Asked if the states and the beneficiaries will have a choice between Covaxin and Covishield, Bhushan said, “In many countries, more than one vaccine is being used. There is no such option available to any of the beneficiaries in these countries.” (ANI)