Pune: The government of India has placed an order with Serum Institute of India (SII) to supply 11 million doses of Covishield vaccine at Rs 200 each.
Eight days after the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) approved Covishield – which has been co-developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca in collaboration with SII – for emergency authorization use, SII received the first bulk order, reports The Indian Express.
“We are expecting a bigger order next week,” SII head Cyrus Poonawalla was quoted as saying by Express.
With Prime Minister Narendra Modi announcing on Monday that 300 million frontline workers will be covered in the first phase of vaccination, the government will need 600 million doses initially, to be administered free of cost.
Poonawalla, however, has appealed for a simultaneous roll-out of the vaccine for the private sector also, so that the elderly people can get it without any delay.
“Why should the private market and vulnerable groups –– mainly elderly people –– be deprived till the government starts distributing in their priority areas,” Poonawalla said.
Serum Institute, the world’s largest manufacturer of vaccines, has a stock of 50 million doses of Covishield ready for immediate distribution.