As the country ramps up its vaccination drive in a bid to inoculate as many people as possible, the Russian Vaccine Sputnik V, which is India’s third vaccine, will be available from the second week of June for administration. At present, Apollo hospitals will be administering the rolled out vaccine shots and the dose will cost Rs. 1,195.

“We will be charging Rs 995 for the vaccine and Rs 200 would be administration charges,” news agency ANI quoted an official of the Apollo Group as saying on May 28.

A day earlier, the hospital chain’s executive vice-chairperson Shobana Kamineni said that Sputnik V “will be available through the Apollo system from the second week of June”.

Apollo is the first private sector vaccinator to unveil a tentative date for the availability of Sputnik V vaccine. India has become the 60th country to authorise the use of the Russian vaccine against coronavirus. It is now approved in countries with a total population of 3 billion, or 40 percent of the world’s population.

Under the Centre’s liberalised vaccination policy, the private sector hospitals have earned a crucial role as they can directly procure the doses from manufacturers and administer them to the eligible beneficiaries. The beneficiaries, however, need to register themselves for the jabs through the CoWin platform.

Earlier, while highlighting the Sputnik V progress, deputy chief of mission Roman Babushkin, told ANI, “Sputnik V is one of the vaccines which is included in the Indian mass vaccination drive and it speaks for itself. This company (Panacea Biotec) is one of the Indian partners of the Russian Direct Investment Fund and is developing a business partnership. The preliminary schedule is to gradually reach 850 million doses in India per year. We know that there is interest from other business partners and even state governments, all these proposals we are studying very carefully.”

Talking about the status of the single-dose vaccine ‘Sputnik lite’, the Russian envoy had said promotion in India and distribution would be very helpful.

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