As part of its second phase of the mega vaccination plan, the government aims to vaccinate about 27 crore people and it has renegotiated the price of the Covid-19 vaccine being bought from the Serum Institute of India (SII). The price of Covishield, developed by AstraZeneca and the Oxford University and manufactured by the world's biggest vaccine maker Serum Institute, has been reduced to Rs 160 per dose (including taxes) from Rs 210 earlier, for the current phase of vaccination.
The price reduction may unlikely have any impact on the final price charged from people vaccinating at private hospitals as the Covid-19 vaccines are already subsidised by the Centre. The health ministry has not come out with any statement regarding the reduction in Covishield price for phase 2 but it revealed the price for the current phase in Parliament. "The manufacturer of Covishield has agreed to supply 10 crore doses for Rs 150 plus GST per dose," the health ministry said in a written reply in the Upper House.
Round two of the vaccination drive started on March 1. In this phase, people above the age of 60 and between 45-60 with co-morbidities will be vaccinated. As per the latest order details, the SII will charge Rs 150 for a dose of Covishield plus 5 percent GST, amounting to about Rs 157.50 price per dose.
Experts suggest the price in the first round was higher as the Centre placed an order for about 6.6 crore jabs, while the second order amounted to about 10 crore vaccines. Besides India, Covishield is being sold between $4-5.25 per dose in other parts of the world. Under the Covax facility, which aims to distribute vaccines to 191 participating countries at a fair price, Covishield will cost $3-3.15 per dose.
While government hospitals are offering the Covid-19 jabs for free, private hospitals charge Rs 150 per dose plus Rs 100 administration fee.
In phase one, the Centre targeted to vaccinate 3 crore frontline and healthcare workers. The expenditure incurred as operational cost for COVID-19 vaccination of this group is about Rs 480 crore and vaccines' cost is about Rs 1,392 crore, Minister of State for Health Ashwini Choubey told the Rajya Sabha on Monday. As of February 4, a total of 96.28 lakh healthcare workers and 78.51 lakh frontline workers have been identified for COVID-19 vaccination, he said.
Two COVID-19 vaccines -- Covishield manufactured by Serum Institute of India and Covaxin manufactured by Bharat Biotech International Limited -- have been granted permission for restricted use in an emergency situation by the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) so far. These two vaccines have been procured for the COVID-19 vaccination drive in the country, which began on January 16. Till January 26, a total of 200 lakh doses of Covishield and 28.03 lakh doses of Covaxin have been supplied, says the government data.