new Delhi: Vaccine maker Serum Institute of India (SII) on Friday said the precautionary dose of its Kovidshield vaccine against COVID-19 will cost Rs 600 per shot for eligible individuals. SII CEO Adar Poonawalla also welcomed the government’s move to allow precautionary doses of the vaccine to all people over the age of 18 at private vaccination centres, saying it would further provide long-term protection against the virus, and in travel It will be easy

“The end users will pay Rs 600 for the booster dose and the hospitals will get it at a subsidized price,” Poonawalla said in a statement. The Union Health Ministry on Friday announced that people above 18 years of age who have completed nine months of taking the second dose will be eligible for the precautionary dose. Reacting to the government’s decision in a tweet, Poonawalla said, “We are happy with the Government of India’s announcement on boosters. This decision will provide long-term security and help in making travel easier.” However, he said the nine-month gap was a bit long, even though the company had 200 million doses in stock. SII has the capacity to produce 4 billion doses.

Poonawalla also expressed confidence that in future, if required, vaccination can be done across the country in about three months. SII and Bharat Biotech have so far been the major suppliers of COVID-19 vaccines to the government. Earlier in the day, he had said that booster doses should be made available to the public, adding that it would help protect against the virus in future and help Indians overcome restrictions while traveling abroad.

Responding to a user who highlighted the difficulties faced by Indians receiving their second dose in April 2021, Poonawalla had said, “I agree with you and sympathize for the inconvenience, Booster is now available to the public. should be made available. an option.” He further said that the Indian government “has done a fantastic job protecting our country with two doses, but in the context of future security and travel restrictions, boosters will be useful”.

According to the health ministry, about 96 per cent of people above the age of 15 years in India have received at least one dose of the vaccine so far, while about 83 per cent have received both. More than 2.4 crore precautionary doses have also been given to health workers, frontline workers and people above 60 years of age. In addition, 45 per cent of the beneficiaries in the age group of 12-14 years have received the first dose, the ministry said. The ministry said the free COVID-19 vaccination program through government immunization centers for the first and second doses to the eligible population as well as precautionary doses for healthcare workers, frontline workers and those above 60 years of age. will be accelerated.