The Centre is procuring Covishield and Covaxin doses at the rate of Rs 205 and Rs 215 per dose, respectively, and there is only a small difference in the buying cost of the two antibodies for the government, the Lok Sabha was briefed on Friday. In a written response, Minister of State for Health Bharati Pravin Pawar also stated that the government is not facing any difficulty in procuring and arranging vaccines for states and Union territories (UTs). In fact, the Government of India has been supplying vaccines complimentary to the states/UTs for administration to prioritised beneficiaries as recommended by the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for Covid-19 (NEGVAC).
Advance visibility of these assignments, that is, the total doses of antibody that would be handy to a state and UT, is provided to them 15 days earlier, so as to enable them to schedule for acceleration of vaccination coverage while being knowledgeable of the available vaccines, the minister said. The Government of India assigns vaccines to states/UTs based on criteria such as pro rata target population, progress of vaccination in the state and UT and antibody wastage.
“According to the latest supply order, the Indian government is buying Covishield at a price of Rs 205 (excluding tax) per dose and Covaxin at a price of Rs 215 per dose. The purchase price is only slightly different. Two vaccines are provided. to the Indian government, “Pawar said in a written response. As of July 20, 2021, a total of 4.252 million doses of Covishield and Covaxin were provided for the Covid19 vaccination crusade in India.
Till July, approximately Rs 8,071.09 crore was used to procure the Covid19 vaccine. In response to a separate question, the Minister told the House of Representatives that the price of the vaccines acquisitioned by the Indian government was negotiated by NEGVAC and its team, which involved detailed discussions with the vaccine developers. In addition, he explained the measures taken by the federal government to assist Indian vaccine producers that are developing the Covid19 vaccine in the pre-trial phase.
The Department of Biotechnology (DBT) under the Ministry of Science and Technology is enforcing ‘Covid Suraksha- the Indian Covid-19 Vaccine Development Mission’. Under the mission, facility growth for the production of Covaxin is being assisted whereby Bharat Biotech and three public sector enterprises, including Haffkine Biopharmaceutical Corporation Ltd, Mumbai; Indian Immunologicals Limited (IIL), Hyderabad; and Bharat Immunologicals Biologicals Limited (BIBCOL), Bulandshahr, are being supported.
In addition, technology transfer of Covaxin production to a consortium of partners, including Hester Biosciences and OmniBRx Biotechnologies Pvt Ltd headed by Gujarat Biotechnology Research Centre (GBRC), Department of Science and Technology, Government of Gujarat, is being promoted by the Department of Biotechnology, the minister said. The Government of India has also furnished financial assistance to domestic vaccine producers Biological E’ which is at present in advance phase III clinical trial for ‘At-risk manufacturing’ of Covid-19 vaccine, she added.
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