A day after receiving regulatory approval for the coronavirus vaccine being developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford, its Indian manufacturer, Serum Institute of India (SII), has said that the vaccine will cost $3-4 per shot (Rs 219-292) to the government and will be priced at double that rate in private market ones such sales open up. Indian drug regulator on Sunday approved SII's Covishield along with Bharat Biotech's Covaxin for restricted emergency use in the country.
SII CEO Adar Poonawalla said that the company will start selling the Covishield to the Indian government and GAVI (Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation) nations in the first stage, followed by the private market. "We want the vaccine to be affordable and accessible to all. The government of India will receive it at a far more affordable price of USD 3-4, since they will be buying in a larger volume," he said.
He further stated that the priority supplies will go to India and the GAVI nations. Only after meeting their requirements, "the private market will open up where the pricing would be USD 6-8 per done," he said.
SII, the world's largest vaccine manufacturer, has got a licence to produce the shot and has already manufactured close to 50 million doses. Serum is expected to have 100 million doses in a month, and will possibly double it by April.
The government has indicated that it may need 300 million doses before July 2021, with frontline health workers and the elderly given priority.
Poonawalla said Serum was in touch with the government for the vaccine's procurement.
"Initially, we will supply 50 million doses and we will get more confirmations over the course of the next few days," he added.
Following receiving regulatory approval, Serum expects formalities to be completed in the next 7 to 10 days for the rollout to begin.
On the efficacy of Covishield, he noted that the company has proven in its trials that it has a 100 per cent efficacy on hospitalisation, implying that there were zero hospitalisations found in the people who took the vaccine globally. "The efficacy results of the vaccine are quite high if it is administered in 2-doses within a gap of 2 - 3months," Poonawalla said.
With PTI inputs