New Delhi (TIP): The Serum Institute of India (SII) has announced that it will price its Covishield vaccine at Rs 600 per dose for private hospitals and Rs 400 per dose for state governments.
In a statement, SII has said, “For the next two months, we will address the limited capacity by scaling up the vaccine production. Going ahead, 50% of our capacities will be served to the Government of India’s vaccination program, and the remaining 50% of the capacity will be for the state governments and private hospitals.”
Comparing the prices with the other vaccines in the world, SII has stated that while American vaccines are priced at Rs 1,500, Russian and Chinese vaccines would cost Rs 750 per dose, making Covishield a cheaper option.
However, the vaccine price will remain at Rs 150 per dose for the Centre.
In an order earlier this week, the Centre said all above 18 years of age are eligible for vaccination from May 1. As it liberalised the vaccination drive, the government allowed states, private hospitals and industrial establishments to procure the vaccine doses directly from manufacturers.
Of the 12.76 crore vaccine doses administered so far, the Covishield comprises over 90% of the vaccine doses, according to government data on Wednesday. Of this, 15 states and union territories have only given Covishield.
Sonia demands uniform price
Congress president Sonia Gandhi wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday, April 22, questioning how the government could allow “brazen profiteering from people’s misery” as she demanded a re-evaluation of the Centre’s modified vaccination policy and a uniform price for vaccines.
Gandhi questioned how the same vaccine manufactured by SII could have three different prices. She added there was no rationale or justification to this “arbitrary distinction”.
“At a time when medical resources are scarce, hospital beds are unavailable, oxygen supply and availability of essential medicine is dwindling rapidly, why is your Government allowing a policy that reeks of such insensitivity,” she said.
Gandhi accused the government of abdicating its responsibility of providing free vaccination to people in the age group of 18 to 45. “This is [a] complete abandonment of the Government’s responsibility towards our youth.” She reiterated the allocation to state governments should be “transparent and equitable, in line with the spirit of cooperative federalism”.