Sputnik V to give booster shot to vaccination programme

G Naga Sridhar Hyderabad | Updated on April 28, 2021

India partner of Russia’s RDIF, Dr Reddy’s, to get the first batch on May 1

India’s arsenal in the battle against Covid-19 will get further ammunition on May 1, with the arrival of Russian Sputnik V vaccine.

Coinciding with the liberalised immunisation programme, the first consignment of Sputnik V will be delivered by Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) through its partner Dr Reddy’s Laboratories on May 1, according to reliable sources.

The number of doses to arrive in India and the price are yet to be ascertained. When contacted, a spokesperson of Dr Reddy’s Lab, however, told BusinessLine: “We are targeting to have the first batch imported by May.’’

Developed by Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, Sputnik V has efficacy of 91.6 per cent and provides full protection against severe cases, according to data published in medical journal The Lancet.

Per earlier understanding, the first batch — imported from Russia — will be made available for the private market and the subsequent sets — produced in India — will be divided between the Centre, the State governments and private players.

Pricing not clear, yet

As of now, Sputnik V’s global price is around $10 a dose. The only two other vaccine available in the country, Covaxin and Covishield, are being offered at ₹150 (around $2) a dose to the Centre.

For the expanded vaccination programme, from May 1, States will get Covaxin at ₹600/dose and Covishield at ₹400. For private hospitals, the vaccines are priced at ₹1,200 and ₹600, respectively.

It had been said earlier that the price of imported Sputnik V may be different from the India-made vaccine. It remains to be seen how it will be priced finally.

Demand for vaccines

Though more than 14 crore have been inoculated, India is short of Covid vaccines especially as it is adding over three lakh cases daily.

With all above 18 becoming eligible for vaccination from May 1, the demand for vaccines is expected to rise significantly. In this context, the arrival of Sputnik V assumes significance.

With tie-ups with Hetero, Gland Pharma, Stelis Pharma, Virchow and Panacea Biotech, besides Dr Reddy’s, Sputnik V production is expected to hit 50 million doses by June-July. The Russian agency’s ties-up will give it access to a combined production capacity of over 850 million doses annually, a part of which will cater to RDIF’s global supply commitments.

Published on April 27, 2021

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