Serum Institute of India (SII), one of the world’s largest vaccine manufacturers, has said that the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine for COVID-19 shall be available for healthcare workers and senior citizens by February of next year.
Its CEO Adar Poonawala has said that the vaccine will be priced at Rs 1,000 for two necessary doses. He added that it will be available for the general public from April onwards. He, however, clarified that these milestones depend on the results of the final trial and approvals from the government.
He said the SII plans to make about 10 crore doses per month from February.
Poonawala said that vaccination of the entire Indian population will take time and it will take years to achieve 100 per cent vaccination.
Government to get vaccine at cheaper rate
While the two-dose vaccine will have a market price of Rs 1,000, it will be made available to the government at a much cheaper rate.
Poonawala said, “The government of India will be getting it at a far cheaper price at around USD 3-4, because it will be buying in a large volume and get access to the price that is similar to what COVAX has got. We are still pricing it far cheaper and more affordable than other vaccines we have in the market today.”
Oxford vaccine working well on elderly
On the efficacy of the vaccine, he said the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is so far proving to work very well even in elderly people, which was a concern earlier.
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“It has induced a good T-cell response, which is an indicator for your long-term immunity and antibody response but then again, time will only tell if these vaccines are going to protect you in the long term. Nobody can answer that for any of the vaccines today,” Poonawalla said.
Over 90 lakh COVID-19 cases in India
The health ministry on Friday informed that 45,882 fresh cases of COVID-19 have been reported in India in the past 24 hours. The addition of the fresh cases has taken the COVID-19 case tally to 90.04 lakh.
So far, the biggest single-day surge of 97,894 COVID-19 cases was reported in India on September 17. The second-highest surge of 97,570 COVID-19 cases was recorded on September 12. It is followed by 96,551 cases reported on September 11.
Notably, India has already surpassed Brazil in terms of cases. It is now the second-worst hit nation due to the coronavirus pandemic after the US.
Also, 584 COVID-19 related deaths were reported by the ministry during this period. The addition of the fresh fatalities has taken India’s death toll due to the deadly virus to 1,32,162.
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