- Bharat Biotech has donated 16.5 lakh doses of Covaxin for free of cost to the Central government as a special gesture
- The first phase of the COVID-19 vaccination drive is scheduled to start on January 16
New Delhi: Vaccine maker Bharat Biotech on Wednesday commenced dispatches of indigenous COVID-19 vaccine, Covaxin, to 11 cities across the country. The vaccine has been sent to Ganavaram, Guwahati, Patna, Delhi, Kurukshetra, Bengaluru, Pune, Bhubaneswar, Jaipur, Chennai, and Lucknow.
“After having received the government purchase order for 55 lakh doses, the company shipped the first batch of vaccine (each vial containing 20 doses),” Bharat Biotech said in a statement.
Bharat Biotech has donated 16.5 lakh doses of Covaxin for free of cost to the Central government as a special gesture, informed Union Health Ministry.
“The Government of India agreed to procure 110 lakh Covishield vaccine doses from Serum Institute of India (SII) at Rs 200/dose. 55 lakh doses of Covaxin to be procured from Bharat Biotech (BBIL), of which 38.5 lakh doses priced at Rs 295/dose,” said Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan.
It is India’s indigenous Covid-19 vaccine, developed in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research and the National Institute of Virology. The first phase of the Covid-19 vaccination drive is scheduled to start on January 16.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has already said that the Centre will bear the cost of vaccinating nearly three crore healthcare and frontline workers in phase 1 vaccination. During his interaction with chief ministers of different states, he said public representatives, including politicians, should not be part of the initial vaccination exercise.
Describing it as the world’s biggest vaccination exercise, PM Modi said India aims to vaccinate around 30 crore people in the next few months, which is way bigger than around 2.5 crore people vaccinated collectively in around 50 countries so far.
Even as the government plans to roll out the COVID-19 vaccination drive with Oxford-AstraZeneca’s Covishield and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin, recipients may not have an option to choose which one they want to be inoculated with. Hinting that this might be the case in India too, health secretary Rajesh Bhushan said many countries across the world are using more than one vaccine and there is no such option available to any of the beneficiaries in these countries.