Ahead of the launch of booster dose for the country’s adult population to fight Covid-19, vaccine makers Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech on Saturday slashed vaccine prices. The government has also announced that private vaccination centres could charge only up to a maximum of Rs 150 as service charge for vaccination over and above the vaccine cost.
Suchitra Ella, joint managing director, Bharat Biotech, said after consultation with the central government, they had decided to revise the price of Covaxin from Rs 1,200 to Rs 225 per dose. Similarly, Adar Poonawalla, CEO, SII, said after discussion with the central government, SII decided to revise the price of Covishield for private hospitals from Rs 600 to Rs 225 per dose.
Poonawalla has indicated the company has adequate stocks to be able to supply vaccines for the third dose. There is no change in the proposed pricing for SII’s Covovax vaccine, which is expected to get regulatory approval in next few weeks. Covovax has been priced at Rs 900.
The government had on Friday announced that the precaution dose of Covid vaccines for 18-59 years age group will begin from April 10. The third dose would need to be from the same manufacturer that made the first two doses.
These precautionary doses can be taken nine months after the second dose.
The Union health ministry has said no fresh registration would be required for precaution dose as all due beneficiaries are already registered on the CoWIN platform. But all private vaccination centres would have to mandatorily register all vaccinations on the CoWIN platform. Healthcare workers, frontline workers and citizens aged 60 years and above shall continue to receive the precaution dose at the vaccination centres, including free vaccination at the government vaccination centres.
Bharat Biotech’s fresh stocks of Covaxin are available and ready to be supplied for booster doses. “Bharat Biotech has more than 50 million doses of Covaxin readily available in vials, and over 200 million doses as drug substance. Additional production capacity is also available to meet product demand,” company statement read. The company said private hospitals have been requested to provide Covaxin at the revised rate, effective from April 10. The price differential with any existing stocks of the vaccine in private hospitals would be compensated in the form of additional doses, the company said. The Covid-19 vaccine, stored at 2-8°C, have a shelf-life of 12 months and a multi-dose vial policy.