In this file photo a health worker prepares to administer a dose of the Covishield, AstraZeneca-Oxfords Covid-19 coronavirus vaccine, at a vaccination centre in Mumbai on April 1, 2021.
In this file photo a health worker prepares to administer a dose of the Covishield, AstraZeneca-Oxfords Covid-19 coronavirus vaccine, at a vaccination centre in Mumbai on April 1, 2021.
(Photo by AFP)

The Central government on Monday has asked the Serum Institute of India (SII) and Bharat Biotech to lower the prices of their COVID-19 vaccines ahead of the third phase of the vaccination drive from May 1 where all citizens above the age of 18 will be administered the vaccine, official sources told news agency PTI.

Reportedly, the issue of vaccine pricing was discussed at a meeting chaired by Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba. And now the two manufacturing companies are expected to come up with revised pricing for their vaccines.

This comes after a row erupted over the vaccine prices ahead of the third phase of the vaccination drive. Several states had objected to different prices of the vaccines, with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal saying this is not time for profiteering.

Earlier, the two companies had announced the prices for their vaccines. The Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII) had announced a price of Rs 400 per dose for its COVID-19 vaccine, 'Covishield', for state governments and Rs 600 per dose for private hospitals. Both vaccines are available to the Central government at a rate of Rs 150 per dose. Meanwhile, the Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech has fixed the price of its COVID-19 vaccine, 'Covaxin', at Rs 600 per dose for state governments and at Rs 1,200 per dose for private hospitals.

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