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“Covaxin Will Be Cheaper Than A Water Bottle”: Bharat Biotech Owner’s Old Video Goes Viral Amid High Price

A ceiling of Rs 1410 has been fixed by the Centre on June 8 for getting Covaxin at private hospitals and reports also suggests that the Centre looking to renegotiate the Rs 150/dose price with manufacturers.

As the government gets ready to implement its rejigged vaccine policy and having placed orders of 40 crore doses with the vaccine manufacturers Serum Insitute and Bharat Biotech, an old clip of the latter’s owner Dr Krishna Ella has gone viral where he said that Covaxin will be “cheaper than a 330 ml water bottle”.

In a clip from August 2020, Dr. Ella is heard saying that the vaccine manufacturers in India including Serum Insitute can innoculate the entire 1.2 billion people.

“Coming to affordability, trust me, it’ll be cheaper than a water bottle,” the Bharat Biotech owner had said.

On June 8, the Centre released the maximum prices that private hospitals can charge for inoculating citizens. The hospitals can charge a maximum of Rs 780 for a dose of Covishield, Rs 1,410 for a dose of ‘Made-In-India’ Covaxin and Rs 1,145 for a dose of Sputnik-V vaccine, according to the order issued by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

The premium prices charged on Covaxin has raised a lot of eyebrows on social media with people questioning Dr. Ella’s claims in the video.

Also Read: India’s Vaccine Policy Fiasco And How The Media Covered It

In April, vaccine manufacturers were allowed to fix their own prices for states and private healthcare facilities, following the decision to decentralise vaccine procurement. SII and Bharat Biotech initially priced their vaccines at Rs 400 and Rs 600 respectively for states and Rs 600 and Rs 1,200 respectively for private facilities. Following the backlash, the procurement prices for states were revised to Rs 300 per dose of Covishield and Rs 400 per dose of Covaxin.

Now, as the Centre announced the revised vaccine policy which will provide free vaccines to all citizens above 18+, news reports have stated that the Centre is looking to re-negotiate the procurement prices with both Serum Institute and Bharat Biotech.

Currently, the procurement price for the Centre for both vaccines is Rs 150.


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