SII CEO Adar Poonawalla
SII CEO Adar Poonawalla
Twitter/ @adarpoonawalla

The Serum Insititute of India (SII) has refuted fake reports saying that it has contracted all its production till May 25 only to the Centre. There were few reports stating that the SII has contracted all its production till May 25 to Centre and state governments won't be able to procure vaccine till that date.

Issuing a statement, the institute said, these reports are based on incorrect facts and are without any basis.

It clarified that state governments are free to procure COVID-19 vaccine doses from the vaccine manufacturers as per the Liberalised Pricing and Accelerated National COVID-19 vaccination strategy.

Besides, the Centre has said that in phase-lll vaccination the national vaccine strategy aims at liberalized vaccine pricing and scaling up of vaccine coverage. This would incentivize vaccine manufacturers to rapidly scale up their production and also attract new vaccine manufacturers. It w

ould make pricing, procurement and administration of vaccines more flexible and ensure augmented vaccine production and wider availability in the country.

The world's largest vaccine maker, on April 21 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. The company also said for the next two months, it will address the issue of limited capacity by scaling up vaccine production.

"Going ahead, 50 per cent of our capacities will be served to the Government of India's vaccination program, and the remaining 50 per cent of the capacity will be for the state governments and private hospitals," Serum Institute of India said in a statement.

Following the government directives, the price of Covishield vaccine is Rs 400 per dose for state governments and Rs 600 per dose for the private hospitals, it added. Considering the global vaccine prices, "we are ensuring that our vaccines are affordable in comparison to any other vaccines in the world", Serum Institute said.

The American vaccines in the private market cost more than Rs 1,500 per dose, while Russian and Chinese vaccines cost greater than Rs 750 per dose, it added.

"... owing to the complexity, and urgency of the situation it is challenging to supply it independently to each corporate entity. We would urge all corporate and private individuals to access the vaccines through the state facilitated machinery and private health systems", Serum Institute said.

After 4-5 months, the vaccines will be made available in retail and free trade, it added. The vaccine major said it welcomes the recent announcement made by the Ministry of Health and Finance Ministry to accelerate India's vaccination drive.

Of the 127,605,870 COVID-19 vaccination jabs administered till now, 11,60,65,107 are of Covishield, while 1,15,40,763 are Covaxin, according to the government's CO-WIN portal.

According to the sources, the government is likely to waive 10 per cent customs duty levied on imported vaccines in a bid to keep the cost of overseas vaccines low, that are being eyed to supplement domestically made shots ahead of the opening of COVID-19 vaccination to all citizens over 18 years of age.

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Free Press Journal