Individuals cannot choose COVID-19 vaccine they prefer, says Health Ministry

Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan on Tuesday said that the Indian government has so far ordered 110 lakh doses from Serum Institute of India (SII) and 55 lakh doses from Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech that will reach various centres by January 14. Due to the logistical limitations and availability of the vaccine, individuals cannot choose the COVID-19 vaccine they prefer.

“In no country is there is an option available regarding the choice of vaccines. We would be staggering our supply orders,” he said.

Bhushan said SII will be providing its Coronavirus vaccine at ₹200 per dose and Covaxin would cost ₹295 per dose excluding taxes.

Out of the total number of doses, Bharat Biotech is providing 16.5 lakh doses of Covaxin free of cost to the government.

Compared to the vaccines by SII and BB, Pfizer’s vaccine costs ₹2,800 for two doses while Moderna’s will cost anywhere between ₹2,300 to ₹2,700 per dose. A COVID-19 vaccine developed by China has been priced at ₹5,600 per dose while another Chinese vaccine will be made available in India at ₹1,200 per dose, Bhushan said.

The Health Secretary added that the Coronavirus vaccination rollout is expected to last beyond one year and in the beginning the vaccination it will be sequential.

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