Russia-made Covid vaccine, Sputnik V, has been soft launched in India, with the first dose administered in Hyderabad on Friday, Dr Reddy’s Laboratories said in a statement.
The vaccine is priced at ₹995.40 per shot in the market, but the price is expected to come down once local production starts in July.
“As part of a limited pilot, the soft launch of the vaccine has commenced and the first dose of the vaccine was administered in Hyderabad today (14th May), 2021,” Dr Reddy’s Labs, the licensed distributors of the vaccine in India, said.
The first consignment carrying 150,000 doses of the vaccine had landed in Hyderabad on May 1.
More consignments of imported doses are expected over the coming months. Production of the vaccine locally is likely to start around July.
Sputnik V is the third vaccine to be given Emergency Use Authorisation in India after Oxford University -AstraZeneca developed Covishield and Bharat Biotech manufactured Covaxin.
The imported vaccine has been priced at Rs 948 per dose. However, including 5 per cent Goods and Services Tax, the price of this vaccine goes up to Rs 995.40 per dose.
Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin is priced at Rs 400 per dose for States and sold at Rs 1,200 per dose to private hospitals.
Covishield, manufactured by Serum Institute of India, is the cheapest at present. It is provided to States at Rs 300 per dose, while it is priced at Rs 600 per dose to private hospitals.
Production to go up rapidly
Russia’s Covid-19 vaccine Sputnik V has reached India and will be available in the market from next week onwards, NITI Aayog member Dr VK Paul said on Thursday. The first batch has arrived and more will be arriving from Russia.
Dr VK Paul said, “We will have 2 billion doses in the next five months – made by India and used by India.”
These include another 750 million of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine, manufactured in India by the Serum Institute of India under the Covishield brand, as well as 550 million doses of Covaxin, made by Bharat Biotech will be produced between August and December, Paul told reporters at a news conference.
The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) has signed a deal to produce 750 million doses a year of Sputnik V in India. Apart from Dr Reddy’s Laboratories there are four other Indian pharmaceutical companies that will also manufacture the vaccine.
The Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine was first approved in Russia on August 11 last year. With an efficacy of 91.6%, as published in the Lancet Medical Journal, the vaccine has been cleared and approved for mass use in more than 50 countries.