In a major move, the Serum Institute of India (SII) has reduced the price of its COVID-19 vaccine ‘Covishield’ from Rs 400 to Rs 300 per dose for states, announced firm CEO Adar Poonawallah on Wednesday.
“As a philanthropic gesture on behalf of Serum Institute of India, I hereby reduce the price to the states from Rs 400 to Rs 300 per dose, effective immediately; this will save thousands of crores of state funds going forward. This will enable more vaccinations and save countless lives,” Poonawalla tweeted.
The SII manufactures the Covishield vaccine, while Bharat Biotech is the manufacturer of Covaxin.
Earlier this month, Adar Poonawalla, CEO of Serum Institute of India, had asked the government for financial assistance to ramp up vaccine production.
Recently, the Centre announced that everyone above the age of 18 will be eligible to get vaccinated against COVID-19 in the vaccination drive beginning May 1. Several important decisions were taken in a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi regarding pricing, procurement, eligibility and administration of vaccines being made flexible in Phase 3 of the world’s largest vaccination drive.
Vaccine manufacturers have been incentivised to further scale up their production, as well as attract new national and international players. They are empowered to release up to 50 per cent of their supply to state governments and in the open market at a pre-declared price.
States are empowered to procure additional vaccine doses directly from the manufacturers, as well as open up vaccination to any category of people above the age of 18 for the same.
Also recently, while replying to Congress leader Jairam Ramesh, Ministry of Health on April 24 said in a tweet, “#Unite2FightCorona It is clarified that Govt of India’s procurement price for both #COVID19 vaccines remains Rs 150 per dose. GOI procured doses will continue to be provided TOTALLY FREE to States. @PMOIndia @drharshvardhan @AshwiniKChoubey @DDNewslive @PIB_India @mygovindia.”
On April 24, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh by sharing a newspaper article which reads ‘Serum’s Rs 600/dose for Covishield in pvt hospital is its highest rate the world over’ and said in a tweet — “COVISHIELD @ Rs 400 for new government procurement is higher than what govts of US, UK, EU, Saudi, Bangladesh & SA pay. Made in India & highest price for India? By SII’s own admission profits are made even at Rs150. Prices must be renegotiated @PMOIndia @nsitharaman @drharshvardhan.”
The statement from the government came after several political leaders slammed the central government for providing Covishield vaccine at Rs 400 per dose for state governments and Rs 600 per dose for private hospitals.
The COVID-19 situation in India continues to deteriorate amid the second wave of coronavirus infections. For the past three days, the country has been reporting in excess of three lakh coronavirus infections and over 2000 related deaths on a daily basis. (ANI)