Serum Institute of India (SII) CEO Adar Poonawalla on Monday said that a minimum of 100 million doses of Covishield, a coronavirus vaccine which is said to be 90 per cent effective, will be available by January.
"It will be another two-three months for the vaccine to be available in India. By January we will have 100 million doses, minimum. The target set by the government is 300 to 400 million doses by July. We are putting an MRP of ₹1,000 - for the private market it will be around ₹ 500 or 600 (+ ₹ 200 for the distributor) and ₹250 or less for the government," Poonawalla told NDTV.
Poonawalla added that Centre would buy 90 per cent of the doses for ₹250 or less, while the remaining 10 per cent is expected to be released to the private market. However, it will not be until March for the general public to get their hands on the vaccine.
"The general public is not likely to get it easily. They will have to go to government distribution points and, if the are eligible, then they will get it. Otherwise they have to wait till March... because the priority is to vaccine our most vulnerable," Poonawalla said.
Earlier in the day, AstraZeneca announced that its COVID-19 vaccine, developed along with the University of Oxford, could be around 90% effective under one dosing regimen.
“Today marks an important milestone in our fight against the pandemic. This vaccine’s efficacy and safety confirm that it will be highly effective against COVID-19 and will have an immediate impact on this public health emergency," AstraZeneca chief executive Pascal Soriot said in a statement.
"Furthermore, the vaccine’s simple supply chain and our no-profit pledge and commitment to broad, equitable and timely access means it will be affordable and globally available, supplying hundreds of millions of doses on approval," he added.
After the announcement, Poonawalla tweeted, "I am delighted to hear that, Covishield, a low-cost, logistically manageable & soon to be widely available, #COVID19 vaccine, will offer protection up to 90% in one type of dosage regime and 62% in the other dosage regime."
For the uninitiated, Serum Institute is AstraZeneca's India partner and will produce more than a billion doses of the COVID-19 vaccine for global supply.