Serum Institute of India CEO Adar Poonawalla tweeted that it was an “emotional moment” for his team at the Pune facility as the first shipments of the Covishield vaccine rolled out today. 56.5 lakh doses of Covishield, India’s first coronavirus vaccine, left the SII this morning for various cities including Delhi, Chennai, Bengaluru, Lucknow, Kolkata, Guwahati and Patna.
Mr Poonawalla shared two photographs with his tweet – one of the whole team at Serum Institute and the other of him sitting at the truck with boxes of the shipment behind him. Three trucks left for various cities to deliver the vaccine.
— Adar Poonawalla (@adarpoonawalla) January 12, 2021
The government plans to purchase a total of 5.60 crore doses of Covishield vaccine by April 2021, at Rs 200 per dose. While 1.10 crore doses of the vaccine were purchased on Monday, there is a “commitment” to purchase another 4.50 crore doses by April 2021.
Mr Poonawalla said they have given a special price of Rs 200 for the first 100 million doses on request by the government.
“We decided initially we won’t make a profit. After that we will still maintain a very reasonable price… it will be a little more than Rs 200, which is our cost price,” he said.
“After that we’ll be selling it at Rs 1000 per dose in the private market,” Mr Poonawalla added.
Two vaccines — Covishield developed by the Oxford University and pharma major AstraZeneca and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin — received emergency use approval from the Drug Controller of India earlier this month. Both are two-dose vaccines, which will have to be administered at a 28-day gap.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday held an online meeting with Chief Ministers of all states to discuss the Covid situation and the vaccine rollout, for which three rounds of dry runs have taken place so far.
India begins the first phase of a mass vaccination – claimed as the largest in the world – on Saturday, with around 30 crore people, including three crore frontline workers, to be inoculated.