The government has lined up assured prepaid bulk procurement of COVID-19 vaccines at a total expenditure of Rs 4,500 crore amid the raging second wave of the pandemic.
A source close to the development told Business Today that bulk vaccine supply worth Rs 3,000 crore has been lined up from the Serum Institute of India (SII), which is currently manufacturing the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. A similar captive supply worth Rs 1,500 crore will be arranged with Bharat Biotech for the indigenous COVID-19 vaccine - Covaxin.
The government will make pre-payment to both the companies for the vaccine supply. "This will serve as an incentive to the two vaccine suppliers," said the source.
The fresh order for COVID-19 vaccines comes shortly after the central government decided to launch the third phase of COVID-19 vaccination. The latest phases allows every one above the age of 18 years to be vaccinated. This phase will kick off from May 1.
Under the new phase, government has allowed vaccine manufacturers to supply 50 per cent of their monthly Central Drugs Laboratory (CDL) released doses to the Government of India. The remaining 50 per cent of their supply will go to the state governments and in the open market at a pre-declared price. States have also been empowered to procure additional vaccine doses directly from the manufacturers.
Meanwhile, the Centre's vaccination programme will continue as before, providing free of cost vaccination to health care workers (HCWs), front line workers (FLWs) and all people above 45 years of age.
"Manufacturers would transparently make an advance declaration of the price for 50 per cent supply that would be available to state governments and in open market, before 1st May 2021. Based on this price, state governments, private hospitals, industrial establishments etc would be able to procure vaccine doses from the manufacturers," a goverment statement said. "Private hospitals would have to procure their supplies of COVID-19 vaccine exclusively from the 50 per cent supply earmarked for other than Government of India channel."