India on Sunday approved emergency use of two Covid-19 vaccines to kick off one of the world’s biggest inoculation drives, while the European Union offered to help drug companies expand production to ease distribution bottlenecks.
Serum Institute of India CEO Adar Poonawalla said the Oxford vaccine will be sold for Rs 200 to the government and Rs 1,000 for the public.
“The government has not given nod to exports however we have bilaterals with Saudi Arabia and a handful of other countries. we will ask the government to allow us to do it in some weeks so that we can sell it to 68 other countries nder COVAX initiative. Company will provide vaccines to depots from where states will pick it up. About 50 million doses have got batch clearance till now,” he said.
India, the second-worst affected country, has authorised use of shots developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University and by local pharmaceutical firm Bharat Biotech, the country’s drug regulator said.
India has set an ambitious target of inoculating 300 million of its 1.3 billion people by mid-2021. Countries around the globe are hoping that the roll-out of vaccines will bring under control a pandemic which has infected 84.6 million people and killed more than 1.8 million since it first emerged in China just over a year ago.