Different batches of ZyCoV-D are undergoing a last round of quality tests at the vaccine testing facility in Himachal Pradesh, with the nationwide rollout of Zydus Cadila’s Covid vaccine, ZyCoV-D, barely 2 weeks away.
NK Arora, head of the Centre’s Covid working group of the National Technical Advisory Group on Vaccination (NTAGI), told TOI that if all goes according to plan, the vaccine may be put into the immunisation programme as soon as October 15-16.
Around 1.5 lakh doses of Zydus Cadila’s ZyCoV-D vaccine have cleared the quality test at Central Drugs Laboratory, in Kasauli, Himachal Pradesh, sources told CNN-News18, adding that the government is currently in negotiation with the manufacturers to bring down the commercial price of the jab.
The manufacturers have quoted a price of Rs 1,800 to 1,900 per dose, which the government feels is on the higher side for a three-dose vaccine, and wants a lower figure, the sources said.
Because ZyCov-D is the first DNA-based and needle-free vaccine, it will be more expensive than previous vaccines. The vaccination requires a specific applicator, which costs Rs 35,000, raising the price range of the vaccine dosage.
The three-dose needle-free ZyCoV-D vaccine is based on plasmid DNA technology and follows a three-dose schedule with a 28-day interval between each treatment, according to Ahmedabad-based Zydus Cadila.
“Since it is a three-dose vaccine, we need to ensure availability of one crore doses each month for the next three months,” Arora added.
The vaccine will be the first in India to be administered to children in the age groups of 12-18 years. According to the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation, the Covid working group is in favour of starting inoculations for children and the details of comorbidities and prioritisation of beneficiaries in adolescents will be released soon, government sources had said.