Govt places purchase order for 1.1 cr Covishield vaccine doses, commits to buy 4.5 cr more by April

Payal Banerjee
·3-min read

New Delhi, Jan 11 (PTI) The government on Monday placed a purchase order with Serum Institute of India for 1.1 crore doses of Oxford COVID-19 vaccine, Covishield, each costing Rs 210, including the GST, and committed to buy 4.5 crore more by April, together amounting to over Rs 1,100 crore, sources said.

Dispatch of the vaccine is likely to start by early Tuesday morning, they said.

According to the order placed, each dose of the vaccine has been priced at Rs 200 and with GST of Rs 10, it would cost Rs 210. The HLL Lifecare Limited, a public sector undertaking, issued the supply order on behalf of the Union Health Ministry.

The first order of 1.1 crore doses will be worth Rs 231 crore, while the total amount, including the commitment for 4.5 crore doses, with the total estimated to reach Rs 1,176 crore at current rates, sources said.

'It is further informed that there is a commitment to purchase further 450 lakh doses from Serum Institute of India Pvt Limited, a manufacturer (through subsidiary Serum Institute of Life Sciences Pvt Limited) at Rs 200 per dose plus GST if applicable by April 2021,' the letter of comfort signed by Prakash Kumar Singh, Additional Director, Government and Regulatory Affairs at Serum Institute of India (SII) and R S Manku, Vice President (Govt Business) stated.

'This is in continuation to the supply order dated January 11 for supply of 1.1 crore doses of Covishield vaccine as approved by DCGI vide permission dated January 3 for restricted use in emergency situation,' it stated.

The Union health ministry is also likely to soon sign a purchase order for another anti-coronavirus vaccine, Covaxin, which has been indigenously developed by Bharat Biotech, a source said.

The Covishield vaccine doses would be initially shipped to 60 consignee points across India from where those would be distributed to various vaccination centres, the sources said.

Vaccine-laden trucks will move out from Manjari location of the Pune-based SII amid elaborate police security. The Maharashtra government has decided to provide police security to the trucks carrying the vaccine up to airports and to the borders of the state.

As many as 2,54,500 doses of Covishield are set to be delivered at Delhi's central storage, Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality Hospital, in Tahirpur. India had recently approved two vaccines, Oxford's Covishield manufactured by SII in the country and Bharat Biotech's Covaxin, for restricted emergency use.

According to the health ministry, two doses of the vaccine need to be taken by an individual 28 days apart to complete the immunisation schedule. Protective levels of antibodies are generally developed two weeks after receiving the second dose, it has said.

The country will launch its COVID-19 vaccination drive from January 16 in what Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called the world's largest inoculation programme with priority to be given to nearly three crore healthcare and frontline workers.

According to the 'COVID-19 Vaccine Operational Guidelines', the shots will be offered first to an estimated one crore healthcare workers, and around two crore frontline workers, and then to persons above 50 years of age, followed by persons younger than 50 years of age with associated comorbidities based on evolving pandemic situation. PTI PLB BJ NSD NSD