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Open market sale of vaccines not allowed under emergency use authorisation: NITI Aayog

Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech can start selling their coornavirus vaccines in the open market only after they are granted full market authorisation by government agencies.

January 13, 2021 / 07:35 PM IST
Reuters

Reuters

Government think tank NITI Aayog informed on January 13 that emergency use authorisation of vaccines does not allow its sale in private markets.

CNBC-TV18 quoted NITI Aayog officials as saying that the vaccine makers -- Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech - can start selling their coornavirus vaccines in the open market only after they are granted full market authorisation by government agencies.

Bharat Biotech is selling its COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin to the government at a nominal rate of 295 per dose. However, since the Hyderabad-based firm is charging the government for only 38.5 lakh of the total procurement of 55 lakh doses, the price of Covaxin comes down to only Rs 206 per dose.

SII on the other hand is selling Oxford-AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine Covishield at Rs 200 per dose. It has signed a purchase order for 1.1 crore doses of Covishield with the government.

However, SII’s Chief Executive Officer Adar Poonawalla has clarified that he would be selling each dose of Covishield at Rs 1,000 in open market once it gets the nod of competent authorities.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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