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.
It has taken longer for the government and manufacturers to negotiate the price of the ZyCov-D vaccine, due to its complex gun and applicator mechanism, which costs more, sources said.
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.
As ZyCov-D is the first DNA-based and needle-free vaccine, its price range, compared to other jabs, is set to be higher. The special applicator that the vaccine requires costs Rs 35,000, driving up the price range of the vaccine dose.
However, the sources said that according to the government, a consensus the vaccine’s price will likely be reached in the coming week, after which the jab could launched commercially.
Meanwhile, manufacturers are imparting training to healthcare workers to use the special applicator for inoculation.
Vaccine for Kids
The first one crore doses of ZyCov-D are likely to be available in early October.
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.
6 shots per individual: 2 shots 3 doses
The three doses of the ZyCoV-D vaccine will be administered on day 0, day 28 and day 56.
Each of the three doses will be given in two shots on each arm, right and left; for an individual to be fully vaccinated by ZyCov-D, one would have to be injected with six shots of the vaccine.
Unlike the traditional vaccines, such as Covishield and Covaxin, that are administered using syringes and dosage of 0.5 ml in size, ZyCov-D comes in a needle-free system.
The vaccine uses an applicator or a jet injector which presses the liquid medicine into a narrow stream, which then penetrates into the skin.
The jab’s efficacy has been found to be 66% but unlike other vaccines, ZyCov-D needs three doses to work in its full efficacy.
Gun and Applicator
The needle-free injector has two components, an applicator and a gun. The gun costs Rs 30,000, while the applicator would cost Rs 90.
Each gun would be used to administer 20,000 doses. This means the gun can be used on 10,000 people as each vaccine dose consists of two shots. The applicator on top of the gun too would be reused.
“In a traditional vaccine, the cost of a non-reusable syringe is somewhere between Rs 2 to Rs 3.5. That is the additional cost. In the case of Zydus Cadila vaccine, we have to distribute the cost in such a manner that it remains reasonable. This is the reason why the pricing talks and negotiations have taken so long,” a senior government official had informed CNN-News18.
The government maintains that the Zydus Cadila vaccine will be introduced into the nationwide inoculation drive very soon.