Bharat Biotech has reduced the price of its Covaxin for state governments from Rs 600 to Rs 400 per dose, the vaccine-maker said in a statement today. The cost of the COVID-19 vaccine for private hospitals is changed at Rs 1,200 per dose.
Today’s announcement by one of the two companies whose vaccines are allowed in India came a day after the other company, Adar Poonawalla’s Serum Institute of India, cut the price of its Covishield from Rs 400 to Rs 300 in what Mr Poonawalla called a “philanthropic gesture”.
The issue of vaccine pricing has been much debated after the two companies recently put a figure to what they will charge for their products amid the deadly second wave of the pandemic. Some political leaders and activists have demanded universal free vaccination. However, the companies themselves only recently asked for thousands of crores from the centre to manufacture the vaccines.
“Bharat Biotech is deeply concerned with the critical pandemic circumstances that India is facing at this time. Recognising the enormous challenges to the public health care system, we have made Covaxin available to state governments at a price of Rs 400 per dose,” the company run by Krishna M Ella said in a statement today.
“We wish to be transparent in our approach to pricing which was determined by internally funded project development… and clinical trials,” Bharat Biotech said.
State governments and private hospitals can order up to 50 per cent of Covishield and Covaxin to inoculate the younger population, while the centre will buy the other half to continue vaccinating those above 45 free of cost. Serum said it would continue to provide vaccines to the centre at Rs 150 a shot.
The next round of India’s vaccination drive that starts on Saturday is focussed on the younger population and some 1.33 crore in the age group 18-44 applied for vaccination on Wednesday as the government’s dedicated website, CoWIN, opened for registrations.