New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The Centre is ready with its deal to buy the coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford from the Serum Institute of India. According to a News18 report, the government will procure 6.6 c crore doses to vaccinate three crore frontline and healthcare workers at Rs 200 per dose. 

Serum Institute of India, the world's largest vaccine manufacturer, has a licence to produce the shot and has already manufactured close to 50 million doses.

Earlier today, SII CEO Adar Poonawalla said that the vaccine will cost USD 3-4 per shot (Rs 219-292) to the government and will be priced at double that rate in private market ones such sales open up. 

Poonawalla told PTI that the company will start selling the Covishield to the Indian government and GAVI countries in the first stage, followed by the private market.

The government has indicated that it may need 300 million doses before July 2021, with frontline health workers and the elderly given priority.

Poonawalla said Serum was in touch with the government for the vaccine's procurement. "Initially, we will supply 50 million doses and we will get more confirmations over the course of the next few days," he added.

After the regulator's nod, Serum expects formalities to be completed in the next 7 to 10 days for the rollout to begin.

When asked if the SII has been barred by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) not to export the vaccine till vulnerable populations in India are protected, Poonawalla said: "We will start exporting the vaccine post the government's approval and talks are going on".

"Our priority list will see us cater to the Indian market first, then the COVAX countries. Optimistically, by March-April we should have permissions in place," he added.

On the efficacy of Covishield, he noted that the company has proven in its trials that it has a 100 per cent efficacy on hospitalisation, implying that there were zero hospitalisations found in the people who took the vaccine globally.

"The efficacy results of the vaccine are quite high if it is administered in 2-doses within a gap of 2–3months," Poonawalla said.

Posted By: Abhinav Gupta