Only marginal difference in purchase price of Covishield, Covaxin: Govt

The Centre is purchasing Covishield and Covaxin doses at the rate of Rs 205 and Rs 215 per dose, respectively, and there is only a marginal difference in the purchase price of the two vaccines for the government,

the Lok Sabha was informed on Friday.

In a written reply, Minister of State for Health Bharati Pravin Pawar also said 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 free of cost 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 allocations, that is, the total doses of vaccine that would be available to a state and UT, is provided to them 15 days in advance, so as to enable them to plan for acceleration of vaccination coverage while being cognizant of the available vaccines, the minister said.

The Government of India allocates vaccines to states/UTs based on criteria such as pro rata target population, progress of vaccination in the state and UT and vaccine wastage.

"According to the latest supply order, the Government of India is purchasing Covishield (exclusive of taxes) at the rate of Rs 205 per dose and Covaxin at the rate of Rs 215 per dose. There is only a marginal difference in the purchase price of the two vaccines for the Government of India," Pawar said in the written reply.

As on July 20, 2021, a total of 42.52 crore doses of Covishield and Covaxin have been supplied for COVID-19 vaccination drive in India.

Till July, around Rs 8,071.09 crore has been spent on purchase of COVID-19 vaccines. The price of vaccine for procurement by the Government of India is negotiated by NEGVAC and its subgroups involving detailed deliberations with the vaccine manufacturers, the minister told the House in response to a separate question.

She further elaborated on the initiatives taken by the Union government to help Indian vaccine manufacturers who are in the process of developing COVID-19 vaccine which are in advance stage of trial.

The Department of Biotechnology (DBT) under the Ministry of Science and Technology is implementing 'COVID Suraksha- the Indian COVID-19 Vaccine Development Mission'.

Under the mission, facility augmentation for production of Covaxin is being supported 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.

Additionally, technology transfer of Covaxin production to a consortium of partners, including Hester Biosciences and OmniBRx Biotechnologies Pvt Ltd led by Gujarat Biotechnology Research Centre (GBRC), Department of Science and Technology, Government of Gujarat, is being facilitated by the Department of Biotechnology, the minister said.

The Government of India has also provided financial assistance to domestic vaccine manufacturer Biological E' which is at present in advance phase III clinical trial for 'At-risk manufacturing' of COVID-19 vaccine, she added.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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