Centre Buys 1.1 Crore Covishield Doses, Another 4.5 Crore By April

The first batch of Covishield rolled out from the Serum Institute's Pune facility this morning.

Centre Buys 1.1 Crore Covishield Doses, Another 4.5 Crore By April

The first batch of Covishield is expected to roll out from Serum Institute in Pune at 4.30 am on Tuesday

New Delhi:

The government plans to purchase a total of 5.60 crore doses of Serum Institute of India's Covishield vaccine by April 2021, at Rs 200 per dose. While 1.10 crore doses of Covishield were purchased on Monday, there is a "commitment" to purchase another 4.50 crore doses by April 2021.

The Hindustan Lifecare Limited or HLL, a Central enterprise, is the agency which will buy the vaccines from both Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech.

The first batch of Covishield rolled out from the Serum Institute's Pune facility this morning.

Two vaccines -- the Covishield developed by the Oxford University and pharma major AstraZeneca and Bharat Biotech's Covaxin -- received emergency use approval from the Drug Controller of India earlier this month. Both are two-dose vaccines, which will have to be administered at a 28-day gap.

The rollout of the vaccines has been scheduled for January 16. The government has said that 30 crore people - starting with health workers and frontline workers like the police, civil defence personnel and sanitation workers - will be administered the vaccine in the first phase.

After them, the other vulnerable group, people who are over the age of 50 years and those who suffer from co-morbidities including diabetes and hypertension, will also be administered the vaccine.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday held an online meeting with Chief Ministers of all states to discuss the Covid-19 situation and the vaccine rollout, for which three rounds of dry runs have taken place so far.

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The health workers and the frontline workers, the Prime Minister said, will be administered the vaccine free of cost.

"If you look at the number of health and frontline workers across all states, it stands at around 3 crore. It has been decided that state governments will not have to bear the expenses of vaccination of these 3 crore people in the first phase. The government of India will bear these expenses," PM Modi said.

He also issued a warning to political leaders, asking them to wait for their turn to get the vaccine and not jump the queue, sources said.

The daily surge of coronavirus figures in the country was 16,311 fresh cases over the last 24 hours, data from the Union health ministry showed. The total number of cases in the country is 1,04,66,595. The number of deaths have gone up by 161 to reach 1,51,160.

The government will use its CoWIN (Covid Vaccine Intelligence Network) app to manage the massive vaccination drive. CoWIN will track the individual vaccine beneficiaries, more than 79 lakh of whom have been registered on the platform. It will also provide real-time information on vaccine stocks and storage temperatures. The app is yet to be launched.