The Central government has augmented the prices at which it will procure Covishield and Covaxin, the two most commonly administered Covid-19 vaccines in India. Under the revised procurement policy, the government will buy a single dose of Covishield for Rs 215 and Covaxin for Rs 225.
In India, at present three private pharma giants are manufacturing the Covid-19 vaccines. Serum Institute of India is producing Oxford–AstraZeneca developed Covishield and Bharat Biotech in association with Indian Council of Medical Research is manufacturing Covaxin, India’s indigenously developed vaccine. Hyderabad-based Dr Reddy’s Laboratories is producing Russian developed Sputnik V.
Prior to this, both the vaccines were being procured from the respective manufacturers at Rs 150 per dose. Earlier this week, an order of 66 crore doses of these two vaccines was placed at the cost of Rs 14,505 crores. The vaccines will be supplied between August and December 2021. The government has also made an advance payment to Biological E for reserving 30 crore doses of its Covid-19 vaccine which will help ramp up the vaccination drive.
According to a report in The Times of India, the government is on the path of achieving the target of 50 crore doses by July 31, which is crucial in terms of meeting the target coverage by the year-end. India plans to vaccinate its entire adult population by December 31, 2021. Around 40 crore doses of the Covid-19 vaccines had been administered across India, until 10 pm on July 16.
The government had announced earlier that procurement prices of vaccines would be revised after the new procurement plan came into effect from June 21. Manufacturers had earlier flagged the issue of pricing saying that investments towards ramping up the manufacturing capacity were not feasible at the earlier rate which was Rs 150 per dose.
At present, vaccine manufacturers can sell only 25% of their total output to the private sector at the predecided prices fixed by the government. The fixed price of Covishield is Rs 780, Covaxin is Rs 1,410 and Sputnik V is Rs 1,415, excluding GST. A maximum service charge of Rs 150 can be levied by the private hospitals to administer the jabs.
The government has procured over 40.31 crore doses. The initial orders had Covaxin priced at Rs 295, and Covishield at Rs 200 a dose, before they were revised to Rs 150 a dose. State governments were shelling out Rs 400 per dose for Covaxin and Rs 300 for a dose of Covishield in May when they were also procuring vaccines.
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