India’s COVID-19 vaccine prices slashed as booster program extended

A woman receives a dose of COVISHIELD, a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, at a drive-through vaccination kiosk in Ahmedabad, India May 27, 2021. REUTERS/Amit Dave

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MUMBAI, April 9 (Reuters) – Serum Institute of India (SII) and Bharat Biotech have cut prices for their COVID-19 vaccines as the country plans to offer booster doses to all adults from Sunday.

The cost of SII’s Covishield will drop to 225 rupees ($2.96) a 600 rupees dose for private hospitals, chief executive Adar Poonawalla said in a Tweet on Saturday.

“After discussion with the central government, the SII has decided to revise the price of the Covishield vaccine for private hospitals,” he said.

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Infections in India have fallen to their lowest level in nearly two years, with 1,150 new cases reported in the past 24 hours, with 83 deaths. The death toll in the country since the start of the pandemic is 521,656.

SII, the world’s largest vaccine maker, produces AstraZeneca’s (AZN.L) COVID-19 vaccine under the Covishield brand.

Of the 1.85 billion doses of vaccine India provided to its population of 1.35 billion, 82% were Covishield.

Bharat Biotech has reduced the price of its Covaxin vaccine to Rs 225 per dose from Rs 1,200, the company’s co-CEO Suchitra Ella said in a Tweet.

People over the age of 18 who received a second dose nine months ago will be eligible for the extra “precautionary” dose, the Department of Health said on Friday, using the government’s term for the boosters. Read more

The booster program, which began in January, is limited to frontline workers and the elderly and has so far administered 24 million doses.

When the program is extended on Sunday, those who are not in the two priority categories will have to pay for vaccines at private facilities, with no mixing or matching of vaccines allowed.

($1 = 75.9381 Indian rupees)

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Reporting by Rajendra Jadhav; Editing by Mike Harrison

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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