Telangana urges Bharat Biotech to supply maximum doses of Covaxin

The Telangana government on Tuesday urged Bharat Biotech to supply maximum doses of its Covid-19 vaccine Covaxin to the state.

The state government also asked the Hyderabad-based company to give priority to Telangana, which plans to vaccinate all people in the state free of cost.

On the direction of Chief Minister K. Chandrasekar Rao, Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar on Tuesday met Bharat Biotech Chairman and Managing Director Dr Krishna Ella at the state Secretariat.

Telling Ella that the Chief Minister decided to vaccinate the entire population against Covid-19 free of cost, the Chief Secretary requested him to supply maximum doses and give priority to Telangana to administer vaccine to all the people in the state.

Bharat Biotech has responded positively to provide maximum vaccine to Telangana, said an official statement.

It was, however, not clear if pricing issue was also discussed during the Chief Secretary’s meeting with Ella.

The Chief Minister on April 24 decided to vaccinate the state’s four crore residents against Covid-19 for free, irrespective of their age. The beneficiaries include people from other states who reside here as well.

The state government said it will spend Rs 2,500 crore for the vaccination programme. Around 35 lakh people have already been vaccinated in Telangana.

The same day, Bharat Biotech announced prices for the vaccine, fixing at Rs 600 the price per dose for supply to state governments. This is Rs 200 higher than the price fixed by the Serum Institute of India for Covishield.

They have been supplying their vaccines to the Central government at Rs 150 per dose since the launch of the nation-wide vaccination programme.

Different pricing by the two vaccine makers for the central and state governments kicked up a row. The Centre has reportedly asked both the vaccine makers to lower their prices ahead of the third phase of the vaccination drive from May 1.