Mr Poonawala told NDTV that Covishield will cost Rs 600 plus taxes (same as before).
Serum Institute of India CEO Adar Poonawalla today welcomed the government's decision to allow Coronavirus booster shots to all adults from Sunday at private vaccination centres. Calling it a crucial and timely decision, the vaccine tycoon said people who wished to travel were finding it difficult to do so without a third dose as several countries have placed restrictions on those who have not taken a booster dose.
Unlike the booster shots announced for healthcare workers, frontline staff and those above 60, the third jab will not be free for most adults. Mr Poonawala told NDTV that Covishield will cost Rs 600 plus taxes (same as before) and Covovax, once approved as a booster, will be available for Rs.900 plus taxes.
"Covishield is approved as a booster dose and Covovax will eventually be approved as a booster as well," he told NDTV.
Mr Poonawala said that Serum Institute will offer large discounts to hospitals and distributors who will offer boosters.
India's drug regulator had last month granted restricted emergency use authorisation to Serum Institute's COVID-19 vaccine Covovax for the 12-17 years age group subject to certain conditions. Covovax is manufactured by technology transfer from Novavax and is approved by the European Medicines Agency for conditional marketing authorisation and also granted emergency use listing by WHO on December 2017, 2020.
"Ongoing free vaccination programme through government vaccination centres for first and second dose as well as Precaution Dose to Healthcare Workers, Frontline Workers and 60+ population would continue and would be accelerated," a government statement said announcing the decision this morning.
About 96 per cent of the 15 and above population in the country have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose while about 83 per cent of has received both doses, it added.
India started vaccinating children aged 12 to 14 years on March 16. The government has still not taken a decision on vaccinating those aged below 12 years and the health ministry has consistently said that additional need for vaccination and inclusion of population for vaccination are examined constantly.