Vaccine-maker Serum Institute of India (SII) has said it would price its Covid-19 vaccine at ₹400 per dose for States and ₹600 for private hospitals.
This follows the Centre’s recent move to expand vaccination to all over 18 years in the country from May 1, besides allowing companies to sell 50 per cent of their capacity to States and to private entities.
The price is higher than that fixed by the Centre ( ₹250 per dose), when vaccines are procured through Central government channels and given in private hospitals. This price included ₹150 for the vaccine.
SII’s price announcement, however, received a push-back from public health voices and politicians such as Rahul Gandhi, Jairam Ramesh and Sitaram Yechury, who have called for the Centre to foot the bill. Demanding “öne nation, one price,” they pointed out that States with wealthier coffers could corner the vaccines, leading to vaccine inequities. Besides, universal childhood immunisation has always been free, they added.
Meanwhile, Serum Institute said that its prices were affordable in comparison to global vaccine prices.
SII Chief Adar Poonawalla said, the Centre’s recent directives would help scale-up vaccine production, and allow State governments, private hospitals, and vaccination centers to procure vaccines directly. SII is also to receive ₹3,000 crore support from the Centre. The funds are expected to bolster production from about 60-million doses a month to about 100 million in June-July.
He also indicated that the next lot of vaccines procured by the Centre could be at increased prices. The present additional requirement of 100 million doses was procured at ₹150.