The first stage of the rollout of the vaccines against the coronavirus began on Tuesday with Serum Institute of India – the manufacturer of Oxford University’s Covishield – shipping out its first lot of vials. The Union Health Ministry, in a press conference today, said the inoculation programme, billed as the world’s largest, is on track. It explained the vaccination drive in numbers.
According to the Health Ministry, 11 million doses of Covishield, the Oxford vaccine, are being procured at Rs 200 per dose (excluding taxes). 55 lakh doses of Covaxin — developed by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech — are also being procured. Both these vaccines have been approved by the country’s drug regulator for restricted emergency use.
Bharat Biotech is charging Rs 295 per dose for 38.5 lakh doses. The company, which has partnered with the Indian Council of Medical Research for the vaccine, will give 16.5 lakh doses to the centre free of cost.
The centre has received 54,72,000 doses of vaccines against the coronavirus so far, the Union Health Ministry today said. “100 percent doses to be received by January 14 in all states/UTs,” it added.
On why only 11 million doses were ordered from the Serum Institute when the country needed much more, the ministry said, “We will stagger our supply orders.”
The ministry said that the vaccines developed or manufactured in India are way cheaper than their western counterparts. “Pfizer’s two doses will cost around Rs 2,800; Moderna’s two doses may cost around Rs 5,400,” it said.
Four other vaccines being developed or manufactured in India may be available for emergency use in the next few months, it added.
For the vaccination that starts from January 16, 2360 master trainers, 61,000 programme managers, 2 lakh vaccinators, 3.7 lakh other personnel have been trained so far, it said.