Pune: On a day when the Serum Institute of India (SII) started delivering batches of its COVID-19 vaccine across India, the pharmaceuticals company's CEO Adar Poonawalla said that 'Covishield' will be made available in private markets at Rs 1,000 after they get requisite permission.
The chief of the world's largest vaccine manufacturer on Tuesday (January 12, 2021) said, "Once the SII get the requisite permission, the vaccine will be made available in the private market at the cost Rs 1,000."
Poonawalla added that the SII has offered the coronavirus vaccine to the Centre at a special price of Rs 200 and expressed, "This is one of the most affordable vaccines in the world and we are offering it to the GoI at a special price just to support the Prime Minister's vision and to support the 'aam aadmi' of our country."
He said, "The Government of India will buy the vaccine at the rate of Rs 200 per dose for 10 crore doses, and thereafter, the cost of the vaccine will go up. The vaccine we are offering to the government will be given to the common man, the poor, vulnerable groups and healthcare workers free of cost."
"The SII has the stock of 8 crore doses ready at the present moment," he added.
He stated that over 1.11 crore doses of Covishield vaccine are currently being rolled out across India and that there are plans to provide 5 to 6 crore more doses by February.
The delivery of the coronavirus vaccines comes four days ahead of what is called the 'world's largest vaccination drive'.
Speaking to the select media persons at the SII facility, Poonawalla called it a historic moment and said, "Our trucks left the SII facility early morning and now the vaccine is being distributed in the entire country. This is a proud and historic moment as scientists, experts and all other stake-holders took great efforts while making this vaccine in less than a year."
— Adar Poonawalla (@adarpoonawalla) January 12, 2021
He further said that the company is not only providing the vaccine in India but is also committed to provide it to other countries who are looking at India at this point.
Notably, Covishield COVID-19 vaccine is developed by Oxford University and British-Swedish company AstraZeneca and has been manufactured by the SII.
Meanwhile, India reported 12,584 new coronavirus confirmed cases which is the lowest daily increase after nearly seven months. Back on June 18, 2020, the daily new COVID-19 cases were recorded at 12,881.
India's active caseload has fallen to 2,16,558 whereas the total recoveries have crossed 1.01 crore. The death toll on the other hand has exceeded 1,51,000.
(With inputs from agencies)