NEW DELHI: The COVID-19 vaccine by the US-based Johnson & Johnson’s subsidiary Janssen could be available in private hospitals in India next month in a limited quantity for about Rs 2,000 per dose, if efforts by the body of a private hospital association work out.
The advantage of this viral vector-based vaccine is that it requires only a single shot and can be stored in regular refrigerators for up to three months.
The price of this vaccine is $25 per dose or Rs 1855 while private hospitals will also charge administrative cost of Rs 150, apart from GST, for every dose administered.
As per the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, this vaccine was 66.3% effective in efficacy trials at preventing laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 infection and people had the most protection two weeks after getting vaccinated.
“We are trying to procure this vaccine for some private hospitals in India and the idea is to establish and verify a supply channel for this vaccine in India before the vaccine can be imported in a big way,” said Girdhar J Gyani, director general of the Association of Private Healthcare Providers in India.
He said that the vaccine may be particularly apt for India, given that it is a single dose vaccine and can be stored easily.
“These two features make it useful for a large chunk of population in tier II and III cities and remote parts in the country,” Gyani added.
Recently, the Indian government had relaxed regulatory norms to allow foreign made COVID-19 vaccines — approved by developed countries and the WHO — to enter India without the mandatory bridging clinical trials.
It had tweaked norms to mandate that the vaccine batches cleared by regulators abroad will not need additional clearing by the Central Drugs Laboratories, Kasauli, as has been the norm for all drugs and vaccines till now.
The AHPI has also been trying to procure J&J COVID jabs through an authorised private agency in India from the European Union's quota for lower- and middle-income countries.
In the US, the pharma major J&J meanwhile had recently announced that it is testing whether the immune response from its vaccine is capable of neutralizing the delta variant of SARS CoV 2 in a laboratory setting but data from the experiment is yet to be available.
The results from the tests will be highly relevant for India where the delta variant is now the most dominant strain of the COVID virus.
ALSO WATCH | Kerala's Covid-19 fight: A tale of two waves | TNIE Documentary