A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a centralised vaccine procurement system, the Government of India, on Tuesday, has placed fresh orders for 440 million jabs.
The government has placed an order with Serum Institute of India (SII) for 250 million doses of Covishield and with Bharat Biotech for 190 million doses of Covaxin.
“With the aim to further universalise the countrywide vaccination drive, all citizens above 18 years of age can receive the coronavirus vaccine doses free of cost at government health facilities,” said the union health ministry.
These 440 million doses of vaccines will be available till December 2021, starting now. Additionally, 30 per cent of the advance for procurement of both the Covid Vaccines has been released to Serum Institute and Bharat Biotech.
Centre had already placed an order to purchase 300 million vaccine doses from Biological E, recently, which will be available by September.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday announced that the Central government will take back control of the vaccine procurement and provide free jabs to the states for inoculation of everyone aged above 18 years.
“Centre will buy 75 per cent of the total vaccine production, including 25 per cent of the state quota.”
The Prime Minister said that the Centre had reserved its policy only on the demand of several states.
Modi said private sector hospitals can continue to procure 25 per cent of vaccines, but their service charge would be capped at Rs 150 per dose over fixed price of the vaccine.
Addressing a press briefing, Dr V K Paul of NITI Aayog said: “We should wait for Biological E to announce the price of their vaccine (Corbevax). It will depend on our negotiation with the company, under the new policy. The financial aid that has been given will meet part of the price.”
On vaccine price for hospitals, Paul said that price to private sectors hospitals will be decided by vaccine manufacturers and states will aggregate demand of private sector, which means they will oversee how much network of facilties it has, and how many doses does it require.