SII hikes Covishield vaccine prices, to cost between Rs 400-600

Hyderabad: Two days after the central government announced a “liberalized and accelerated” vaccination drive from May 1, the Serum Institute of India on Wednesday announced the prices for Covishield (AstraZeneca, the vaccine developed by Oxford.)

In a statement, SII said that Covishield will be sold at ₹400 a shot to state governments and ₹600 to private hospitals. 

As part of the government’s new policy, 50 per cent of vaccine doses will be reserved for the Centre and the rest will be divided between states and private hospitals. The Centre will continue to receive the vaccine at ₹150 each.

Serum Institute said that the vaccines were still more affordable than foreign vaccines, which cost from ₹750 to ₹ 1,500 a shot, accordingly.

“Furthermore, 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. Post 4-5 months, the vaccines will be made available in retail and free trade,” it said.

Many, including politicians, took to social media in outrage that Serum Institute differential pricing for Centre and states, calling it a ‘scam’.

Further, it is important to note that additional doses in millions will be needed as the vaccination is now allowed to a wider age group. Several states, including Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, have flagged a shortage of COVID-19 vaccine shots.

In relation to this, Serum chief Adar Poonawalla said that the production will be ramped up and by the end of May, there will be 15 to 20 per cent more doses of Covishield in the market.