HTLS 2020: ‘Oxford Covid-19 Vaccine Will Be Priced At Rs 500-600,’ Says Adar Poonawalla

‘Covishield’, the front runner to India’s race for Covid-19 vaccine, is manufactured by Serum Institute of India in agreement with Oxford-AstraZeneca will be available for Rs. 500-600 for the general public.

Serum Institute of India (SII) will likely apply to India’s top drug regulator next month for emergency approval for the limited use of ‘Covishield’ on frontline workers and the elderly, the CEO of the Pune-headquartered vaccine manufacturer said at a media summit on Thursday.

Covishield is the name in India of the Covid-19 vaccine candidate developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca. Promising results about the effectiveness of the candidate in vulnerable age groups were published in The Lancet on Thursday.

The candidate, which is being manufactured by SII under an agreement with Oxford-AstraZeneca, is the frontrunner in India’s own race to find a vaccine to defeat the novel coronavirus.

COVID-19 Vaccination At Economical Cost

Image Credit: Google

Oxford University’s Covid-19 vaccine will be priced at Rs 500-600 Adar Poonawalla, chief executive officer of Serum Institute of India told the reporters on Thursday. As per the report, he said it will take another 3-4 months before the vaccine could be made available to the general public. Poonawalla’s comments came during the second session of the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit; Day 1, ‘Covid-19: Where Do We Stand’.

While in conversation with the reporter health and science editor Sanchita Sharma, Poonawalla said that nearly 300-400 million doses of the Oxford vaccine for Covid-19 will be available by the first quarter of 2021. Poonawalla emphasized the significance of “private players” for enhanced distribution of the vaccine once it hits the market.

“As many private players will have to be brought in to partner with the government for enhanced distribution of the vaccine… we see more of that happening,” he said.

Poonawalla said it will take about four more years to get everyone get vaccinated and protected from the virus.

“It will be 2024, till everybody will get vaccinated and protected,” he noted.

Speaking on the possible “side-effects” of the Oxford Covid-19 vaccine, Poonawalla said, some of the mild symptoms that were noted across different age groups included, “little fever, weakness, headache, normal cold”.

“Even those symptoms went away in one or two days after giving paracetamol,” he said.

In the opening session of the summit, Dr. Randeep Guleria, director of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), and Dr. Ashish K Jha, dean of Brown University’s School of Public Health talked about the pandemic, the road ahead for India, and the breakthrough achieved by pharmaceutical giants Moderna and Pfizer with respect to the Covid-19 vaccine.

Both the experts expressed their delight with the development while cautioning against the challenges ahead.