New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The Serum Institute on India on Monday said it has received purchased order from the Centre for the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, news agency ANI quoted SII officials as confirming. The officials further said that the vaccine would be available at Rs 200 per dose. 

Meanwhile, according to a Reuters report, the government has signed a purchase order with Serum Institute for 11 million doses of the vaccine. It has reportedly also signed a purchase agreement with local player Bharat Biotech for its COVID-19 vaccine. 

India's drugs regulator has approved Oxford COVID-19 vaccine Covishield, manufactured by the Serum Institute, and the indigenously-developed Covaxin of Bharat Biotech for restricted emergency use in the country.

The government had said this weekend that the process of administering the vaccine will start on on January 16. Around 30 crore people will be vaccinated in the first phase in which priority will be given to the healthcare staff and frontline workers.

After vaccinating healthcare and frontline workers, priority will be given to those above 50 years of age and the under-50 population groups with co-morbidities, together numbering around 27 crore.

This will require around 600 million doses of vaccine and Serum Institute, the world's largest manufacturer of vaccines, has already stockpiled 50 million doses for immediate distribution. 

Ahead of the nationwide rollout on coming Saturday, several states have said that they have made all necessary preparations for the first phase of the exercise including identifying the vaccination sites and registration of healthcare and other frontline workers.

The Centre has said that Co-WIN, an online platform for monitoring COVID-19 vaccine delivery, shall form the foundation for the anti-coronavirus inoculation drive.

At nearly 10.5 million, India has the world's second highest number of novel coronavirus infections behind the United States, although the country's rate of increase in cases has been slowing.

India has said that no restrictions on exports were in place, but is yet to formally announce export clearance despite pressure from Brazil that has sought 2 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute.

The AstraZeneca vaccine, locally branded as Covishield, is expected to meet 90 per cent of India's mass immunisation progamme needs. 

(Disclaimer: ANI had earlier quoted SII officials saying that the vaccine will cost Rs 200 per vial. However, later, ANI came up with a correction saying that vaccine will be available at Rs 200 per dose. The article was updated likewise.) 

Posted By: Abhinav Gupta