Rs. 200 per vaccine dose: SII receives government's purchase order
The Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII) has received the purchase order for COVID-19 vaccines from the central government, officials said on Monday. The Centre is looking forward to commencing the first phase of COVID-19 vaccination drive from January 16. India's drug regulator has granted emergency approval to two vaccines: SII's Covishield and Bharat Biotech's COVAXIN. Here are more details.
SII fixes price at Rs. 200 per dose: Officials
SII officials were quoted as saying by the news agency ANI that the institute has received a purchase order from the government. The officials also said that the vaccine would be available at a price of Rs. 200 per dose. Earlier, SII CEO Adar Poonawalla had said the price for procuring the vaccine may be fixed at Rs. 250 per dose for the government.
Vaccination drive to begin on January 16
Last week, the Centre had said vaccinations would begin on January 16. In the first phase, nearly 30 million (three crore) healthcare and frontline workers will receive the vaccine, while vulnerable groups (those above 50 years of age and the under-50 population groups with co-morbidities; covering 270 million people) will be vaccinated in the second phase. These 300 million people would receive the vaccine for free.
Vaccine doses will likely be dispatched tomorrow morning
The government aims to secure 600 million doses initially for vaccinations over the next six-eight months. Vaccine doses will likely be dispatched early Tuesday morning, sources told ANI. The SII has already stockpiled around 50 million doses for immediate distribution. Once the two-dose vaccine becomes available for the private market, it may be priced at about Rs. 1,000/dose, Poonawalla had said in November.
SII collaborates with Kool-ez Cold Chain for vaccine transport
The SII has collaborated with Pune-based Kool-ez Cold Chain Ltd. to transport the vaccine doses across the country. Six air-conditioned trucks will be used to ship the first consignment of Covishield doses from SII's facility in Pune, India Today reported. Each container will be carrying at least 280-300 boxes and each box will have 1.20 lakh vaccine doses, the report added.
PM Modi interacts with CMs on vaccine roll-out
Ahead of the vaccine roll-out, Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacted with Chief Ministers. During the meeting, the PM stressed on ensuring that politicians do not jump the queue to get the vaccine, sources told ANI. Praising India's response to the outbreak, the PM also said that COVID-19 has not spread in India as badly as in other parts of the world.
How bad is the outbreak in India?
The pace of the outbreak has slowed down considerably since hitting a peak in September 2020. India has reported 1,04,66,595 COVID-19 cases, according to the Health Ministry's latest tally on Monday morning, with 16,311 new infections reported over a 24-hour period. The total cases include 2,22,526 active cases, 1,00,92,909 recoveries, and 1,51,160 deaths. India remains the world's second worst-hit country after the United States.