A vial of the Oxford University-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, which is produced in India and marketed as Covishield (Image: Reuters/Gleb Garanich)
The Serum Institute of India (SII) on April 24 sought to ‘clear confusions’ around the pricing of its Covishield COVID-19 vaccine.
SII, the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, said that governments’ procurement for the nationwide immunisation programmes in all countries, including India, has been at a “far lower price as the volumes are very large”.
“There was an inaccurate comparison done between the global prices of the vaccine with India. Covishield is the most affordable COVID-19 vaccine available in the market today. The initial prices were kept very low globally as it was based on advance funding given by those countries for at-risk vaccine manufacturing. The initial supply price of Covishield for all government immunisation programmes, including India, has been the lowest,” the Serum Institute said in a statement.
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SII further said that only a limited portion of the production volume would be sold to private hospitals at Rs 600 per dose. “The price of the vaccine is still lower than a lot of other medical treatment and essentials required to treat COVID-19 and other life-threatening diseases,” SII said.
Further, the company said that the vaccine market should open up for other jabs from across the world “in the interest of public health”.
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On April 21, the Serum Institute had announced that it will charge state governments Rs 400 and private hospitals Rs 600 per dose of its Covishield COVID-19 vaccine.
The company said 50 percent of its capacities will serve the government of India's vaccination programme, and the remaining 50 percent capacity will be for state governments and private hospitals. “For the next two months, we will address the limited capacity by scaling up the vaccine production,” it said in a statement.
It had also said that doses will be made available in retail and for free trade after four-five months.
The Serum Institute produces Covishield, the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca. Covishield is among the three vaccines authorised for emergency use in India. Covishield needs to be administered in a two-dose regimen. The government had earlier revised the gap between the two doses Covishield to six-eight weeks.Click here for Moneycontrol’s full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic