Zydus Cadila has agreed to bring down the price of its COVID-19 vaccine to Rs 265 a dose following persistent negotiations by the government but a final deal is yet to be reached, sources said on Sunday.
Zydus Cadila’s ZyCov-D is the first vaccine cleared by India’s drug regulator for inoculation of those aged 12 years and above.
To administer the needle-free vaccine, a disposable painless jet applicator costing Rs 93 is required for each dose, which would take the price to Rs 358 per dose.
The Ahmedabad-based pharma company earlier had proposed a price of Rs 1,900 for its three-dose regimen, sources said.
“The company has brought down the price to Rs 358 for each dose which includes Rs 93, the cost of a disposable jet applicator, following repeated negotiations by the government…. A final decision in the matter is likely to be taken this week,” a source in the know of developments said.
The three doses are to be administered 28 days apart, with each dose comprising a shot in both arms.
The indigenously developed world’s first DNA-based needle-free COVID-19 vaccine ZyCoV-D received emergency use authorisation from the drug regulator on August 20.
Meanwhile, the government is still waiting for the recommendations from the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) for introducing ZyCoV-D in the inoculation drive for adults and children with co-morbidities.
NTAGI will provide the protocol and framework for the introduction of this vaccine in the COVID-19 immunisation drive.
Official sources earlier had said that the pricing of ZyCoV-D would be different from that of Covaxin and Covishield as apart from being a three-dose vaccine, it requires a special pharma jet injector that has to be used for administering the vaccine.
That pharma jet injector can be used for administering around 20,000 doses.
“The jet applicator helps the vaccine fluid to penetrate the skin to enter cells of the recipient,” the source said.
Zydus Cadila can provide around two crore doses in November, a source had said.
The government is currently procuring two other vaccines – Covishield at Rs 205 per dose and Covaxin at Rs 215 per dose — for the national COVID-19 immunisation programme.
Covishield, Covaxin and Sputnik V are being given to only those above 18 years of age and unlike ZyCoV-D, these are two-dose regimens.
India has administered more than 106 crore doses of COVID-19 vaccine so far.
The countrywide vaccination drive was rolled out on January 16 with healthcare workers getting inoculated in the first phase. The vaccination of frontline workers started from February 2.
The next phase of COVID-19 vaccination commenced from March 1 for people over 60 years of age and those aged 45 and above with specified co-morbid conditions.
The country launched vaccination for all people aged more than 45 years from April 1. The government then decided to expand its vaccination drive by allowing everyone above 18 to be vaccinated from May 1.