UPDATED: April 28, 2021 18:42 IST
Adar Poonawalla, CEO of Pune-based Serum Institute of India, said Covishield will be made available to states at a price of Rs 300 per dose. SII, which is producing the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine, had earlier priced the doses at Rs 400 for states.
The decision is a philanthropic gesture on behalf of the Serum Institute, said Poonawalla. He went on to add that this will save thousands of crores of state funds and enable more vaccinations.
Serum Institute, which is the world’s largest vaccine maker, has received orders for 340 million doses from states and 20 million doses from private hospitals in India. A large part of the outstanding orders is from various state governments.
Sources within SII say supply to states will begin in the next four days. As many as five states will get supplies this week, including Maharashtra, the state worst hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The other states will start receiving their supply of Covishield in three weeks’ time, added sources.
The idea is to ensure that vaccinations can be scaled up on May 1. All those aged 18 and above will be eligible to receive the life-saving jab in the third phase of the world’s largest nationwide inoculation drive starting Saturday.
Earlier this month, the Serum Institute issued a clarification over the pricing of Covishield. Political leaders have urged the vaccine maker to make the jab available to all at a standard price instead of selling it to the central and state governments and private hospitals at different prices per dose.
In its statement, SII had said that only a limited number of doses of its Covid-19 vaccine will be sold to private hospitals at a cost of Rs 600.