Coronavirus Vaccine Update: The government is unlikely to procure Pfizer-BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine for distribution in India despite its results showing 95 per cent efficacy in preventing the COVID-19 infection due to its high price tag. Pfizer on Monday began the first shipments of its freezer-packed vaccine trials across 50 states of the US. Also Read - Planning a Trip to Singapore During COVID-19? Now, PCR Test Mandatory on Arrival
The US has marked this as the biggest vaccination drive in American history at a time when the pandemic has killed nearly 300,000 people in the country. The vaccine shots will be given first to the health care workers and nursing home residents, and then to senior citizens and other priority people. Also Read - How COVID-19 Affects Heart: Symptoms to Watch Out For And What to do
However, in India, the same might not happen at present due to the cost of Pfizer vaccine at $37 or Rs 2,728. This is much more expensive when compared to other vaccine candidates like Oxford-AstraZeneca’s Covishield which is expected to be available at about Rs 300-400 per dose, or Russia’s Sputnik-V at $10 (Rs 737). Also Read - AIIMS Worker Suffers Allergic Reaction After Receiving Coronavirus Vaccine, Admitted to ICU
Moreover, as experts have warned the vaccine poses a serious difficulty for storage as it needs to be kept at a temperature of minus 70 degrees Celsius (-94 F) or below.
Five vaccines are in advanced phases of clinical trials in India with the Serum Institute of India conducting phase-3 trial of the Oxford-Astrazeneca COVID-19 vaccine, while the indigenously developed vaccine by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with ICMR has already started the phase-3 clinical trial. Drug firm Zydus Cadila has received the approval from the DCGI to start the phase-3 clinical trials of the indigenously-developed anti-coronavirus vaccine.