The central government has directed the Bharat Biotech and Serum Institute of India to lower the prices of the coronavirus vaccines

Both companies will now announce the new prices of the vaccines before the third phase of Covid-19 vaccination drive begins in India on May 1.

People in the age group of 18 years and above will be vaccinated during the third phase.

The companies producing the vaccines have been asked to supply half of their stocks to the Centre and half to the state governments and private hospitals.

The Bharat Biotech and the Serum Institute of India had announced their prices for the vaccines for the third phase of vaccination last week, which was found to be high.

Serum Institute’s Covishield has been priced at Rs 400 per dose for state governments and Rs 600 per dose for private hospitals.

Meanwhile, Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin costs Rs 600 per dose for state governments, Rs 1,200 for private hospitals, and $15-20 for export.

The Centre has offered to acquire the vaccine from manufacturers at Rs 150 and supply it to states for free.

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Meanwhile, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal has asked the companies to supply the vaccine at Rs 150 per dose across the board and not look to make profits.

A report quoted Bharat Biotech’s chairman and managing director Krishna Ella as saying, “Recovering costs is essential in the journey of innovation towards other vaccines such as intranasal COVID-19, chikungunya, zika, cholera,etc.”

“We have always tried to offer quality and affordable healthcare products to all,” Ella.

Serum Institute’s CEO Adar Poonawalla said that Covishield is the cheapest Covid-19 vaccine available in the market and that only a minimal amount will be provided to private hospitals at this price.

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