Desk report, Jan 12: Serum Institute of India will sell the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine to Bangladesh at $4 a dose, three sources with knowledge of the mater told Reuters, about 47% more than India will pay for its inoculation campaign.
The pricing for Bangladesh, the world’s eighth-most populous country, provides a first glimpse of what it will cost other low- and middle-income countries that are seeking to secure the vaccine developed by British drug maker AstraZeneca with Oxford University.
Bangladesh, a country of more than 160 million people, in November signed a preliminary agreement to buy 30 million doses of the shot from Serum – the world’s biggest vaccine maker by volume.
A Bangladeshi government official told reporters on Monday that the first batch of the vaccine, which Serum calls COVISHIELD, should arrive in the country by Jan. 25 so that inoculation can start early next month.
One of the sources said the price for Bangladesh would “eventually average out to $3” per dose, without giving details. All the sources declined to be named ahead of an expected official announcement by the Bangladeshi government.
Bangladesh’s health minister and the health secretary did not answer calls to their mobile phones late in the day.
Serum, which has stockpiled 50 million doses of the vaccine in India, has signed an initial deal to sell 11 million of the shots to the Indian government for 200 rupees ($2.72) per dose.
The rate for India is lower given the massive demand for vaccines in the country of 1.35 billion. Indian regulators have already approved COVISHIELD for emergency use.
Serum has partnered with AstraZeneca, the Gates Foundation and the Gavi vaccine alliance to produce more than a billion doses of the vaccine for supply to lower-income countries. Brazil is expecting at least 2 million doses from Serum.
Source: The Hindu