After the change in the vaccine purchase policy, the central government will now negotiate with both the companies again for the price of Covishield and Covaxin. According to the news published in the Indian Express, the central government will soon hold talks with Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech. A senior government official said that at present both the vaccines are available to the government at the rate of Rs 150 per dose. These do not include tax, but now according to the new policy, the revised price of both the vaccines will be decided. Negotiation process is going on for this.
Additional budget allocation of 15000 crores
However, there has been no official statement from the government in this regard. Finance Ministry, Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan, NITI Aayog member Dr VK Paul, Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech did not comment. Recently, in his address to the nation, PM Narendra Modi had said that the central government will buy 75 percent of the vaccine dose from vaccine manufacturers and give it to the state government free of cost. Earlier, the state government had a quota of 25 percent, which it had to buy, but now the central government will give them the vaccine free of cost. The objective of the central government is to provide free vaccine to all citizens above 18 years from June 21. This is likely to result in an additional expenditure of Rs 15,000 crore as compared to the budget allocation of Rs 35000 crore.
The central government gets the vaccine at Rs 150 per dose
When the vaccination campaign was started for the common people in January, the central government bought 1.1 doses of Covishield at the rate of Rs 200 and 55 lakh doses of Covaxin at the rate of Rs 206. These did not include tax. Later, the government started getting both the vaccines for Rs 150. Till April, even private hospitals used to buy vaccines from the government. Till then the government had allowed the hospital to charge a maximum of Rs 250. Even when the vaccination started for 18 to 44 years old, the central government used to buy both the vaccines at the same price. After this, the vaccine manufacturers got approval to provide the vaccine at a new rate to private hospitals and state governments. After this, the cost of Covishield was Rs 400 for state governments and Rs 600 for private hospitals. Later it was increased to 600 rupees for the state government and 1200 rupees for the hospitals.