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New vaccine policy: Centre places fresh orders for 25 crore Covishield, 19 crore Covaxin doses

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New Delhi, June 08: The central government has placed orders to procure 25 crore doses of Covishield from Serum Institute of India and 19 crore doses for Covaxin from Bharat Biotech, a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that the Centre would take over the state procurement quota and provide free jabs to state governments for inoculation of all above the age of 18.

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The government has placed an order to purchase 25 crore doses of Covishield and 19 crore doses of Covaxin, Dr VK Paul, Member-Health, Niti Aayog, said on Tuesday.

"Govt has also placed an order to purchase 30 crore doses of Biological E's vaccine, which will be available by September," he said.

"We should wait for the company (Biological E) to announce the price of their vaccine (Corbevax). It will depend on our negotiation with the company, under the new policy. The financial aid that has been given will meet part of the price," Dr Paul said.

Free vaccine, foodgrains to cost govt up to Rs 1.45 lakh crore additional moneyFree vaccine, foodgrains to cost govt up to Rs 1.45 lakh crore additional money

"These 44 crore doses of Covishield (25 crore doses) and Covaxin (19 crore doses) will be available till December 2021, starting now," Dr Paul added.

"Additionally, 30% of advance for procurement of both the vaccines has been released to Serum Institute of India & Bharat Biotech," he stated.

The Niti Aayog member further said that the Covid-19 vaccines' price to private sectors (hospitals) will be decided by vaccine manufacturers.

"Vaccines' price to private sectors (hospitals) will be decided by vaccine manufacturers; States will aggregate demand of private sector, which means they will oversee how much network of facilties it has, and how many doses does it require...," Dr VK Paul, said.

While India will have 53.6 crore doses between January and July, the supply will zoom to 133.6 crore doses in the August-December period with more firms joining the supply chain and the existing ones ramping up their production.

India is also in talks with foreign companies like Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, and if it enters into procurement deals with them then the vaccine supply will be further boosted, while work on more domestic vaccines is also underway.

Based on various representations received by the Centre, the vaccination for all adults above 18 years of age was opened in the Phase III of vaccination strategy beginning May 1.

"Now with the aim to further universalise the countrywide vaccination drive, all citizens above 18 years of age can receive the COVID-19 vaccine doses free of cost at government health facilities," the official said.

The central government will provide free coronavirus vaccines to states and union territories for inoculation of all above 18 years of age from June 21, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Monday, announcing that the Centre will take over the 25 per cent state procurement quota.

Asserting that vaccine supply would be increased significantly in the coming days, the prime minister said the Centre has now decided to buy 75 per cent of jabs from vaccine makers for free supply to states, while private sector hospitals will continue to procure the remaining 25 per cent.

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