SII launches India's first indigenous pneumonia vaccine at $3 per dose
- The Serum Institute of India (SII) has launched India’s first and only indigenous pneumonia vaccine at $3 per dose, which is around ₹220, for the government.
- For private purchase, the vaccine will cost about $10 — around ₹735 — which is still at least 50% cheaper than GSK and Pfizer’s pneumonia vaccines.
- All four doses required to immunise a child against pneumonia from SII would cost less than ₹3,200, which is cheaper than a single dose of the Pfizer vaccine at ₹3,600.
CEO Adar Poonawalla Roughly stated that SII’s pneumococcal conjugate vaccine will cost the government around $3 dose, which is approximately ₹220.
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"It is the first vaccine made in India to protect children against the pneumonia disease in India. It is also the most affordable vaccine for pneumonia, in the whole world," he said.
AdvertisementSII’s pneumonia vaccine versus GSK and Pfizer
Each child has to be given four doses — at 6 weeks, 10 weeks and 14 weeks followed by a booster dose at nine months — of the vaccine for full protection. The cumulative four doses of SII’s pneumonia vaccine at ₹ 1,200 would cost less than a single dose from its competitors.
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Even in the private market, the vaccine will cost around $10 per dose, around ₹735. That’s still at least 50% cheaper than GSK and the whole process would still cost less than a single dose of Pfizer’s pneumonia vaccine.
"We hope to achieve 70% to 80% coverage over the next two to three years," said Poonawalla. He explained that the company has multiple strategies planned for the private market and government avenues as well to help spread the vaccine across the country as far as possible.
The vaccine is critical for a country like India, which saw the highest number of children under five years of age die due to pneumonia in 2019 — second only to Nigeria. According to the United Nations, the total death toll is pegged at 127,000.
According to Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, the vaccine symbolises that India is well equipped to handle any health crisis, including the current COVID-19 pandemic. “This is symbolic that India can make any vaccine in an affordable way without compromising on safety and quality,” he said.
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