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India places order for 11 million Oxford vaccines, priced at Rs 200 per dose

The government today landed a price agreement with the Covishield vaccine manufacturer, Serum Institute of India. Through this, India will be buying the first 100 million doses of the coronavirus shot for Rs. 200 per dose, according to sources within the company. Around 11 million doses are expected to be given as part of the first batch to the nation.

The order that got placed this evening is presumed to be dispatched from the Pune hub of SII either tonight or tomorrow morning.

Exports of the life-saving vaccine are likely to be started post-January 16th, the SII sources said while adding, “The price is fixed in writing. A few million doses of Covishield will be supplied every week. 11 million doses may be supplied in the initial lot.”

As announced by the government over the weekend, the administering process will begin from January 16th with first preference to healthcare workers and others.

Earlier in January, India had approved the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine of Serum Institute and the indigenous Covaxin developed by Bharat Biotech for their emergency use that can help in tackling the growing spread of the deadly virus.

Media outlets had reported Adar Poonawalla, the chief executive of SII, that for retail sale in the private market whenever it gets released ultimately, the vaccine will cost Rs. 1000 per dose.

For now, the government seeks to administer the vaccine to 300 million people as part of the first phase of the vaccination drive. This list includes healthcare workers, frontline workers like the police, people aged above 50, and persons with an increased risk of catching the virus- those with comorbidities.

The program will need 600 million doses and currently, the SII owns 50 million doses for immediate distributions and administration being the largest manufacturer of vaccines globally.

Though no restrictions have been placed on exports, according to India’s statement, no official announcement or documentation has been furnished yet. This comes amid Brazil’s requests to place orders for 2 million doses of the SII vaccine developed in India.

Serum’s Oxford vaccine is believed to cater to 90% of India’s program that is looking at giving the vaccine to the mass public.