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The government on Monday has placed a purchase order with the Serum Institute of India (SII) for 11 million doses of Oxford COVID-19 vaccine, Covishield, each costing Rs 210, including the GST, BSS quoted the official sources as saying.

According to the order, each dose of the vaccine has been priced at Rs 200. With the GST of Rs 10 it will cost Rs 210. The HLL Lifecare Limited, a public sector undertaking, issued the supply order on behalf of the union health ministry in the name of Prakash Kumar Singh, additional director, government and regulatory affairs at Serum Institute of India (SII).

Dispatch of the vaccine is likely to start by late Monday evening, the official sources said.

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The Covishield vaccine doses would be initially shipped to 60 consignment points from where it would be distributed further, they added.

The health and family welfare ministry in Bangladesh is also likely to sign a purchase order for another anti-coronavirus vaccine, Covaxin soon, which has been indigenously developed by Bharat Biotech. Meetings for this are underway, a source said.

India had recently granted the authorisation of emergency use to two vaccines, Oxford’s Covishield being manufactured by Serum Institute in India and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin. Both vaccines, according to a statement from the health ministry, have established safety and immunogenicity.

India is set to launch its’ COVID-19 vaccination drive from 16 January. India’s prime minister has entitled this drive as the world’s largest inoculation programme with priority to be given to nearly 30 million healthcare and front line workers.

After vaccinating the healthcare and front line workers, priority will be given to those over 50 years of age and the under-50 population groups with co-morbidities.

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