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Serum Institute of India cuts Covishield vaccine price for States to ₹300 per dose

It was earlier fixed at ₹400 per dose

With a number of States expressing their inability to commence the third phase of vaccination from May 1 owing to vaccine paucity, the Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII) on Wednesday announced that it was reducing the price of its ‘Covishield’ vaccine to the States from ₹400 to ₹300 per dose as a “philanthropic gesture”. 

“As a philanthropic gesture on behalf of SII, I hereby reduce the price to the states from ₹400 to ₹300 per dose, effective immediately; this will save thousands of crores of state funds going forward. This will enable more vaccinations and save countless lives,” said SII CEO Adar Poonawalla on Twitter. 

SII had earlier given its per dose pricing of its ‘Covishield’ vaccine as ₹150 for the Central government, ₹400 for State governments and ₹600 for private hospitals while Bharat Biotech (which rolls out ‘Covaxin’) had quoted ₹150 for the Centre, ₹600 for State governments ₹1200 for private hospitals.  

  Facing criticism over its pricing of the Covishield vaccine, the SII last week had responded by noting the “inaccurate comparisons between the global prices of the vaccine with that in India” while stating that Covishield – one of two anti-Covid-19 vaccines in the country – remained “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 immunization programme, including India, has been the lowest,” the SII had said, in a statement.  

 Meanwhile, Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope today ssaid that despite the Centre announcing the third phase to begin from May 1, it would not be possible to begin the vaccinations on that date as the only two indigenous producers – SII and Bharat Biotech –  could not supply the requisite amounts of doses for the smooth conduct of the inoculation drive.

Mr. Tope further said that the SII had only given a verbal promise of supplying one crore vaccines a month to the Maharashtra government and that a written assurance was pending. Accordingly, the Maharashtra cabinet had taken the decision to import vaccines to meet its required quantity of an estimated 12 crore doses in order to inoculate 5.71 crore citizens between 18-44 years for the third phase.

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