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After Serum, Bharat Biotech cuts Covaxin rate for states to Rs 400 a dose

The decision to slash rates comes days after the Central government asked the Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech to lower the price of their Covid-19 vaccines amid criticism from several states who have accused the companies of profiteering from the crisis.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: April 29, 2021 9:18:02 pm
Covaxin, Covid-19A health worker prepares to administer the Covaxin vaccine for COVID-19 to a man at an indoor stadium in Gawahati. (AP Photo)

A day after the Serum Institute of Institute slashed the rate of its Covishield vaccine for states, Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech Thursday followed suit by announcing that its Covid-19 vaccine — Covaxin — will be made available to state governments at a reduced price of Rs 400 per dose.

Expressing “deep concern” over the critical pandemic situation in the country, the vaccine maker said it recognises the enormous challenges to the public health care system.

Earlier, Bharat Biotech had decided to charge state governments Rs 600 for a dose of its Covaxin vaccine and Rs 1200 per dose for private hospitals. As per this rate, the states would have had to pay four times what the Centre will be paying to procure its shots.

The decision to slash rates comes days after the Central government asked the Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech to lower the price of their Covid-19 vaccines amid criticism from several states who have accused the companies of profiteering from the crisis. The issue of vaccine pricing was discussed at a meeting chaired by Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba on Monday.

Of the 15 crore people vaccinated, just over 9 per cent have received Covaxin. Its safety and efficacy results from its final analysis will be available in June.

Both vaccines are available to the Central government at a rate of Rs 150 per dose.

Under the government’s new vaccine policy applicable from May 1, 50 per cent of doses will be available in the open market, from where both state governments and private vaccination centres would have to procure to vaccinate the 18-44 age group. Private vaccination centres will have to dip into the same basket for doses for the priority group of 45+ as well.

Meanwhile, given the limited doses available, some Opposition states have red-flagged differential pricing and the silence of the Centre on how private manufacturers will decide on distribution. The Congress termed the new policy as “discriminatory and insensitive”, and accused the government of allowing vaccine makers to profiteer to the tune of Rs 1.11 lakh crore.

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