'Philanthropic gesture': Serum Institute cuts Covishield cost by Rs 100 for states

By Express News Service
NEW DELHI: The Serum Institute of India on Wednesday announced that the price of Covishield per dose for state governments has been reduced from Rs 400 to Rs 300. But there was no mention of its cost reduction to private hospitals indicating it will remain the same.

As per the statement issued by the company earlier, it had said that states will have to pay Rs 400 per shot of the vaccines while it will cost Rs 600 per shot to private hospitals.

“As a philanthropic gesture on behalf of Serum Institute of India, I hereby reduce the price to the states from Rs.400 to Rs.300 per dose, effective immediately; this will save thousands of crores of state funds going forward. This will enable more vaccinations and save countless lives,” said the company CEO Adar Poonawalla in a tweet.

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Following the price announcement by SII last week, Bharat Biotech had announced that its Covid19 vaccine Covaxin will be available to states at Rs 600 per dose and to private hospitals at Rs 1200 per shot.

The Centre however has said that it will keep procuring the two vaccines at Rs 150 per shot.

As a philanthropic gesture on behalf of @SerumInstIndia, I hereby reduce the price to the states from Rs.400 to Rs.300 per dose, effective immediately; this will save thousands of crores of state funds going forward. This will enable more vaccinations and save countless lives.
— Adar Poonawalla (@adarpoonawalla) April 28, 2021

This differential pricing and the steep prices announced by the two companies have since triggered a torrent of criticism of the liberalised and decentralised Covid19 vaccination policy by the Centre.

Under the new policy, from May 1, as vaccinations open to all adults, states and private entities can buy doses directly from manufacturers which will be used for people in the 18-44 age group.

The Centre however will supply vaccines–50 % of the total vaccines supplied by these companies– only for the priority groups or those above 45 years, healthcare and frontline workers.