Amidst the news of a possible vaccine brewing up for public use, India strides in and waits for the availability of the indigeneous Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, doses of which are being prepared and undergoing final stages of trial in Pune’s Serum Institute of India.
It has been reported that SII hopes to get the emergency license to use the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine by December 2021.
Let’s learn about the anticipated pricings, effectiveness rates and an estimated timeline for the vaccine availability.
When can the Vaccine be Available?
Serum Institute of India CEO Adar Poonawalla says that they shall be applying for emergency licensure soon and are expecting to get it by December.
He also informed that by far, they have stockpiled about 4 crore vaccine doses and shall be ready with 10 crore of them by January 2021.
By July next year, India could have a stockpile of about 40 crore vaccine doses of Covishield.
Poonawalla informs that as soon as they receive an emergency license, they will use it for protecting some frontline workers and priority beneficiaries like healthcare workers and elderly.
He added that limited stock of Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine could be rolled out in India by late January or early February next year.
A country like India will be needing 50-60 crore doses of this vaccine to inoculate 25-30 crore priority population.
What is the Effectiveness Rate of Covishield?
The interim findings of Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine trials show that it is 70% effective in preventing people from getting infected.
This is an appreciable achievement, as the primary efficacy limit set by the Indian drug regulator DCGI in its draft guidelines for Covid-19 vaccines was 50%.
The Covishield vaccine, which comprises 2 doses, offers an effectiveness rate of 90% in one type of dose regime and 62% in the 2nd type of the dose regime.
For the 90% efficacy dose regime, the 2 doses of the vaccine is to be taken at least the month apart.
The other dose regimen showed 62% efficacy when the 2 full doses of the vaccine were taken at a gap of least a month.
Thus, the combined analysis of both the dosing regimens come out to be 70%, at an average.
How much will the Vaccine Cost?
The Covishield vaccine will be cheaper as compared to the vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna.
TOI reports that the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine will be priced at Rs. 500-600 per dose for market and from Rs. 220-300 for government.
This is highly affordable as compared to the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
The Moderna vaccine may cost up to Rs 2775 per dose, while Pfizer could cost upto Rs. 1500.
Transportation of Vaccine Requires Fridge Temperature
While Pfizer vaccine, with an effectiveness rate of 90% is extremely difficult to store and transport to different regions across the world, this problem of storage and logistics is eliminated in the Oxford vaccine.
The Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine requires a temperature of minus 70 degrees Celsius or -94F to be stored in and transported.
While developed countries like the US and UK, have only a handful of such storage units, many countries including India do not have the capacity to transport at temperatures below -40 degree.
To eliminate this storage and logistics problem, the Oxford vaccine can be transported and stored at 2-8 degree Celcius, i.e. normal fridge temperatures, which makes it extremely easy to distribute across remote parts of India.