A single dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine may be priced under $10 (about Rs 730) in India, which could be the lowest price for the mRNA-based jab globally.
"It is a single-digit price per dose. This is a not-for-profit price for the government’s immunisation programme,” Business Standard citing sources as saying. The two-shot vaccine has been made by the American pharma giant and its German partner BioNTech.
If the vaccine comes under $10 in the country, the price would be almost half that of in developed markets like the United States, United Kingdom, and European Union, the report said.
The Pfizer COVID vaccine is priced in the US for $19.5 (Rs 1,423) a dose. In the UK, it costs around $21 (Rs 1,532). In the EU, earlier the price was around $18.9 a dose but price negotiations are underway for a higher price of $23.2 (Rs 1,693) a dose, as per the report.
Frequently Asked Questions
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.
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.
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.
Pfizer is in talks with the Indian government for supplying its coronavirus vaccine.
“Pfizer has offered to make the required doses of our COVID-19 vaccine available at a not-for-profit price for India, as for all low and lower-middle income countries, once we have the necessary regulatory clearance,” said a Pfizer spokesperson.
“Currently, as our discussions with the government of India are ongoing and confidential, we cannot provide further details,” the spokesperson added.
The Russian COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik V is priced in India at Rs 995 a dose (inclusive of all taxes) in the private market. The price for a dose of Covaxin, India's first indigenously developed COVID-19 vaccine, is Rs 1,200 and of Oxford-AstraZeneca’s Covishield Rs 600 for private hospitals. For the Centre, the price Rs 150 a dose at present.
The US pharmaceutical giant is also in discussion with the Central government of India on indemnity. The vaccine maker has been given legal protection by the US.Follow our full coverage on COVID-19 here.