Coronavirus Vaccine At Rs 1200? Govt Orders Bharat Biotech, Serum To Reduce Vaccine Prices
Currently, two vaccines namely, Covaxin and Covishield are being used in the nationwide vaccination drives. The government has recently urged the makers of these vaccines, Serum Institute of India (SII) and Bharat Biotech, to lower the prices of the same.
Government Asks The Manufacturers To Lower The Prices
Under a liberalised and modified vaccination policy, India intends to vaccinate all its adults starting from May 1. Amid the vaccination, there emerged a controversy regarding the pricing of these vaccines. While other demand one price for entire nation, some complained about the prices being on the higher side.
The prices have been declared by the companies recently. The government has maintained its stance of free vaccination for those above 45, and health care and front line workers at government hospitals. All the essential and priority populations as defined earlier i.e HCWs, FLWs and population above 45 years shall be provided free vaccines.
Check Out Different Pricing For State & Private Players
A price of 400 a dose for state governments and Rs 600 a dose for private hospitals has been announced by Serum Institute which makes Oxford-AstraZeneca’s Covishield in India. For the existing supplies, it charges the central government Rs 150 per dose. Serum Institute said that they offer the most affordable COVID-19 vaccine in the market today. It said that initially the prices were kept low due to the advanced funding by the countries for at-risk vaccine manufacturing.
The maker of Covaxin, Bharat Biotech has priced Rs 600 per dose for state governments and Rs 1,200 per dose for private hospitals. Chairman & MD of Bharat Biotech, Krishna M Ella said that it charges the central government Rs 150 per dose. Since the price is relatively higher than its counterpart, the company defends the price on the basis of Covaxin being an inactivated and highly purified vaccine, and the manufacturing of the same is expensive due to very low process yields.
With Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal expressing his dismay over the different prices of vaccines, saying that now is not the time for profiteering, many other states as well have objected to different prices of the vaccines.
Currently, as per the government guidelines, 50% of the produce has to go to the centre for the ongoing government-sponsored campaign (which will remain limited to those above 45 years) and the remaining 50% can be sold by them to the states and private players from May 1 directly.