Covishield to cost ₹600 per dose for private hospitals, no separate channel for corporates as of now
Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII) on Wednesday announced the price of its Covishield vaccine which will be available for everyone above the age of 18 years starting from May 1 in the open market. While one dose of this two-dose vaccine will cost ₹600 for private facilities, it will cost ₹400 for the state governments.
"For the next two months, we will address the limited capacity by scaling up the vaccine production. Going ahead, 50 per cent of our capacities will be served to the government of India's vaccination programme, and the remaining 50% of the capacity will be for the state governments and private hospitals," the world's largest vaccine maker, by the number of doses produced, said.
This comes after the Centre decided to decentralise vaccine purchase and procurement while allowing everyone above the age of 18 years to get inoculated against the coronavirus (Covid-19) disease.
Watch: Serum Institute announces Covishield prices for state govts & private hospitals
Announcing its decision, the government said vaccine makers — as of now Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotch — will be given the freedom to sell 50 per cent of their monthly doses in the open market, which state governments and private hospitals can buy. Without mentioning any upper ceiling of the price, the Centre said manufacturers will have to make an advance declaration of the price before May 1. "Based on this price, state governments, private hospitals, industrial establishments etc., would be able to procure vaccine doses from the manufacturers. Private Hospitals would have to procure their supplies of Covid-19 vaccine exclusively from the 50% supply earmarked for other than Govt of India channel. Private vaccination providers shall transparently declare their self-set vaccination price. The eligibility through this channel would be opened up to all adults, i.e. everyone above the age of 18," the Centre said.
Covishield for corporates
As of now, it will be challenging for SII to supply vaccine doses independently to corporate entities, CEO Adar Poonawalla said. "We would urge all corporate and private individuals to access the vaccines through the state-facilitated machinery and private health systems," Poonawalla said, adding that after four to five months when the initial surge of the demand is met, vaccines will be made available in retail and free trade.
Is ₹600 costlier than private markets in other countries?
Serum Institute of India has said that even at the open market, it is offering Covuishield at a comparatively affordable rate than other vaccines in the world. For example, it said American vaccines cost over ₹1,500 per dose at the private market, while the per-dose price of Russian vaccines is more than ₹750. The price of Chinese vaccines is also around ₹750 in private markets, Serum Institute said.
Here's how much you will have to pay for SII's Covishield from May 1
The price will depend on where you are getting inoculated. As the Centre has notified, vaccination will continue as before in government of India vaccination centre, free of cost, to eligible population, which includes healthcare workers, frontline workers and all above the age of 45 years
State government hospitals: ₹400 plus hospital charge, if any
Private hospitals: ₹600 plus hospital charge, if any.
Uttar Pradesh and Assam have announced free vaccination for people above the age of 18 years.
Covishield versus Covaxin
In the first phase of vaccination which catered to healthcare and frontline workers, both the vaccines were free. In the second phase, as the drive was expanded to include senior citizens and people above 45 years of age, in a gradual manner, private hospitals were allowed to charge ₹250 per dose of either of the vaccines. In the third phase, which will begin from May 1, vaccination at the government of India centres will remain free, while private hospitals and state government hospitals will charge, according to their procurement price. So at private facilities, the price per dose may exceed ₹600 if the hospitals levy charge for administering the vaccines.
Bharat Biotech has not yet announced its open market, per-dose price, but its chairman Dr Krishna Ella reportedly said he would like to get the maximum price to cover all costs, including the ₹350 crore that the company spent on clinical trials.