The decision to open up the booster dose for all adults comes when infections of the new variant XE are being reported from several countries. (Representational image: AP)
New Delhi: A day after the government allowed all adults to take booster shots of anti Covid-19 vaccines, the prices of the two vaccines -- Covishield and Covaxin – were cut drastically by their manufacturers so that large number of population can access the vaccines before the next wave of Omicron XE variant possibly hits India in another few months.
While the price of Covishield has been cut down from Rs 600 to Rs 225 per dose for private hospitals, that of Covaxin has been reduced from Rs 1,200 to Rs 225. In addition the government has set a Rs 150 cap on Covid-19 vaccine administration charges for private hospitals to prevent overcharging.
The government has announced that all adults can take booster shots from April 10 provided they have a gap of nine months (39 weeks) since their second dose. The Union health ministry has made it clear that there cannot be mixing of vaccines for the precaution dose and that beneficiaries have to be given the same vaccine as their previous two shots.
Making the announcement of the price cut for Covishield, Serum Institute of India CEP Adar Poonawalla tweeted, "We are pleased to announce that after discussion with the Central government, SII has decided to revise the price of Covishield vaccine for private hospitals from Rs 600 to Rs 225 per dose. We once again commend this decision from the Centre to open precautionary doses to all 18+."
"We welcome the decision to make available precautionary doses for all adults. In consultation with the Central government, we have decided to revise the price of Covaxin from Rs 1,200 to Rs 225 per dose for private hospitals," tweeted Suchitra Ella, co-founder of Bharat Biotech.
All those above 18 years of age will have to pay for their Covid-19 booster dose unless they are above 60, healthcare workers or frontline staff, who will be provided the shots by government centres for free.
The decision to open up the booster dose for all adults comes when infections of the new variant XE are being reported from several countries. Already in India, Gujarat has detected its first patient with a highly transmissible XE variant. The 60-year-old patient has a travel history to Mumbai where the first case of the new variant was detected. The Centre has put Kerala, Maharashtra, Delhi, Haryana and Mizoram on high alert as cases here are slowly showing a rising trend.