New Delhi: The Narendra Modi government has procured the two approved vaccines — Covishield and Covaxin — at Rs 200 and Rs 295 per dose, excluding taxes, respectively, from their respective manufacturers.
The government signed the purchase agreement with Pune-based Serum Institute of India, which has developed Covishield, and Covaxin developer Bharat Biotech Monday, a week after the vaccines were approved in the country.
The Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) had granted emergency use authorisation to Oxford-AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine Covishield, manufactured in India by the SII, and the indigenous vaccine, Covaxin by Bharat Biotech, on 3 January.
According to a health ministry official, who was involved in the negotiations, the central government will be paying Rs 220 per dose to SII and Rs 309 per dose to Bharat Biotech, inclusive of all taxes.
The government has placed orders for a total of 1.5 crore Covid-19 vaccines — 1.1 crore from SII and around 40 lakh doses from Bharat Biotech — to kick-start the inoculation drive on 16 January.
At a press conference Tuesday, Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan clarified that Covaxin was being purchased at a higher price because Bharat Biotech was also giving 16.5 lakh doses free of cost and with that the total cost per dose came down to Rs 206.
While the first lot of Covishield vaccines arrived from Pune to Delhi Tuesday, the government is expecting another lot, of more than 50 lakh doses, to be transported from Pune to Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Vijayawada, Shillong, Patna, Bengaluru, Lucknow and Chandigarh.
“This is the first lot of order. We will keep ordering more as per the requirement,” said the government official quoted above.
The government has said the process of procurement will be completed by 14 January.
First lot of Covishield arrives in Delhi
The first tranche of Covishield vaccines from Pune arrived in Delhi early Tuesday morning.
It was carried in a SpiceJet flight and the airline’s chairman Ajay Singh posted a tweet in this regard.
“Proud to say that @flyspicejet carried India’s first consignment of COVID vaccines from Pune to Delhi this morning,” tweeted Singh.
— Ajay Singh (@AjaySingh_SG) January 12, 2021
“We are expecting other airlines including Air India, Go Airlines, IndiGo to carry more than 50 lakh doses from Pune to Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Vijayawada, Shillong, Patna, Bengaluru, Lucknow and Chandigarh,” the source quoted above told ThePrint.
The central government aims to secure 60 crore doses for the country’s immunisation drive to cover 30 crore people — including healthcare workers, frontline workers and people above the age of 50 with comorbidities — in the next six to eight months.
ThePrint had earlier reported that the orders placed will be procured through pharmaceutical PSU, HLL Lifecare, which had also procured hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) for government use.
The budget for the vaccines will also come from PM-CARES fund.