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COVID-19 vaccination | Price of Covishield renegotiated, to cost less than Rs 200 per dose, says Health Ministry

So far, the government has allowed private health facilities to charge up to Rs 250 for one dose of the vaccine.

March 12, 2021 / 07:21 AM IST
The central government on March 11  announced that it has renegotiated the price of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The central government on March 11 announced that it has renegotiated the price of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The central government on March 11  announced that it has renegotiated the price of the COVID-19 vaccine and the reduced price is significantly lower than the present one.

Addressing a press conference, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said: "We have renegotiated the price for the vaccine. The earlier price was  Rs 210, including taxes. After that, we have renegotiated the price, which is significantly lower than Rs 200."

Minister of State for Health Ashwini Choubey recently said in a written reply at Rajya Sabha that the manufacturer of Covishield (Serum Institute of India) has agreed to supply 10 crore doses at a price of Rs 150 plus GST per dose for priority group of population above 60 years and those aged between 45 and 60 years with comorbidities, reported PTI.

So far, the government has allowed private health facilities to charge up to Rs 250 for one dose of the vaccine.

COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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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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Covishield, along with Covaxin, is one of the two COVID-19 vaccines that have been granted emergency use authorisation in India. The vaccine was developed by the University of Oxford and drug manufacturer AstraZeneca, and is being manufactured in India by Pune-based Serum Institute of India.

The Ministry also clarified that there is no shortage of COVID-19 vaccine doses in any state in the country so far.

Responding to a question on the Rajasthan government's claim that there is a shortage in COVID-19 vaccine stock, Bhushan said the central government regularly monitors the availability of vaccine supply in all states and UTs and their consumption on a daily basis.

The vaccine stock availability is reviewed every morning.

"Data of the usage and consumption of COVID-19 vaccine comes from states. The central government does not vaccinate people. It just makes the vaccines available free of cost in government facilities and at a fixed rate in private health facilities.

"According to data available as part of the daily review meeting held this morning, and even three days ago, there was no shortage of COVID-19 vaccine in any state in the country," he said.

In response to a question on whether the government has a timeline in mind for phase 3 of the vaccination drive and who gets included in that, NITI Aayog member (Health) Dr V K Paul said, "We are now focused on the relatively large group of individuals above the age of 60 as well as those aged and those aged 45-60 with comorbidities. We are building momentum to cover this significantly large group."

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"We will see progress and moving forward, yes, further increase in the circle of those who are eligible will be considered," he added.

"As on March 11, till 1:00 pm, 2,56,90,545 vaccine doses have been administered across the country," Bhushan said, adding that 71 percent vaccine doses were administered in public health facilities and 28.77 percent at private facilities.

(With Inputs from PTI) 

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first published: Mar 11, 2021 09:42 pm