Zydus’s needle-free Covid vaccine may be introduced next week
According to the company, the Centre has placed an order of 10 million vaccine doses, at ₹265 per dose
The Zydus Healthcare’s anti-coronavirus disease vaccine, ZyCoV-D, could be introduced in the national vaccination programme by next week, according to people familiar with the development.
“The training of vaccinators who would be administering the shots is nearly complete and the vaccine could be introduced very soon; likely by next week,” said a person aware of the matter on condition of anonymity.
ZyCoV-D, which is world’s first DNA-based and needle-free Covid-19 vaccine, has been approved for emergency use in people 12 years of age and above. However, in the absence of any policies in place on vaccinating children, the Union government has decided to first use the vaccine in adults.
According to the company, the Centre has placed an order of 10 million vaccine doses, at ₹265 per dose. Additionally, ₹93 will be charged as the cost of the needle-free intradermal applicator, which is required to administer the shot. The supplies are being released in a phased manner, according to people familiar with the matter.
ZyCoV-D, which is only the second indigenously developed Covid-19 vaccine besides Covaxin, will be initially used in districts of seven states that have low first dose coverage before being rolled out nationwide, one of the people cited above said. The seven states are Bihar, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.
The Central Drugs Laboratory in Kasauli, Himachal Pradesh, has cleared for market release close to 250,000 doses of the Zydus vaccine after putting the vials through stringent quality tests.
On August 20, the Drugs Controller General of India granted emergency use authorisation to ZyCoV-D but it is yet to be included in the vaccination drive.
Once rolled out, ZyCoV-D will become the third vaccine being used in the national vaccination programme, along with Covishield and Covaxin.
As on December 16, 87.5% of the eligible population has received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine while 57.1% has been fully vaccinated.