New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The imported dose of Russia's Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine, which will be locally produced by Dr Reddy's Laboratories, will be available in the market at a retail price of Rs 948, with 5 per cent GST per dose, said the Hyderabad-based pharmaceutical firm.

Dr Reddy's Laboratories, however, has clarified that Sputnik V, whose first dose was administered in the country on Friday, will become cheaper in the coming days when the local supply of the vaccine begins.

"Further consignments of imported doses are expected over the upcoming months. Subsequently, supply of the Sputnik V vaccine will commence from Indian manufacturing partners," Dr Reddy's Laboratories said in a statement.

"With the rising cases in India, vaccination is our most effective tool in our battle against Covid-19. Contributing to the vaccination drive in India is our biggest priority right now to help Indians be healthy and safe," it added.

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The first consignment of imported doses of the Sputnik V vaccine, which was cleared for emergency use by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) last month, landed in India on May 1.

The Union Health Ministry has said that the Russian vaccine, which has an efficiay rate of 91.6 per cent -- the highest after Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, will be available in the market by next week.

It also said that the country will 15.6 crore doses of Sputnik V, which is also administered in two doses like Covishield and Covaxin, by the end of this year.

"Further supply will also follow. Its production will begin in July and it is estimated that 15.6 crore doses will be manufactured in that period," NITI Aayog's Dr VK Paul was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

The nationwide COVID-19 vaccination was launched in India on January 16. Currently, the third phase of the inoculation drive is underway that aims to vaccinate those in the age group of 18 to 44 years.

As per Union Health Ministry, the cumulative number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the country has inched closer to 18 crore.

It said 4,37,192 beneficiaries in the age group of 18-44 years received their first dose of COVID vaccine on Thursday and cumulatively 39,14,688 across 32 states and union territories since the start of the third phase of the vaccination drive.

"The cumulative number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the country stands at 17,91,77,029 as per the 8 pm provisional report," it said.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma