What Is Causing The Delay In Rollout Of India's First Needle-Free Vaccine?

What Is Causing The Delay In Rollout Of India's First Needle-Free Vaccine?ZyCoV-D (Pic via Zydus Website)
Snapshot
  • Zydus Cadila's needle-free Covid-19 vaccine ZyCoV-D rollout has been delayed as the government is working on the trainers and its logistic issues, informs Union Health Ministry.

    The vaccine will be administered through an applicator, which will be used for the first time in the country.

It was expected that Zydus Cadila's needle-free Covid-19 vaccine ZyCoV-D would be available from the first week of October. Since it did not happen, while explaining the situation, Union Health Ministry said that the government is working on trainers and logistics concerns as Zydus's Covid-19 vaccine does not require the use of a traditional syringe or needle.

Dr VK Paul, Niti Aayog member (Health), during a media conference explained, "Zydus Cadila vaccine is not administered using a conventional syringe or a needle but through an applicator, which will be used for the first time in the country. We are working on the trainers and its logistic issues."

He also added that "Preparations are underway to introduce the Zydus Cadila's Covid-19 vaccine under the national vaccination programme. It is only a matter of a short period of time".

Meanwhile, the central government and Zydus Cadila are negotiating the price of the ZyCov-D—which is to be given on days zero, 28 and 56. According to reports, the company is said to have proposed a price of Rs 1,900 for its three-dose vaccine for those over the age of 12.

The government, on the other hand, is negotiating a lower price. A source told PTI, "Negotiations are on. The company has been asked to reconsider all the aspects regarding the cost of the vaccine. A final decision on the price of the vaccine is likely to be taken this week."

Another person familiar with the matter claimed that the ZyCoV-D vaccine must be priced differently from Covaxin and Covishield because—apart from being a three-dose vaccination—it includes a needle-free jet injector that costs Rs 30,000. As reported, around 20,000 dosages can be administered with the jet injector.

In terms of the price of the vaccine, on 7 October, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan, at a press conference said: "Since this is a three-dose vaccine comes with a needleless delivery system, it would have a differential pricing than the existing vaccines which are being used in the COVID vaccination programme."

The Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) granted Zydus Cadila emergency use authorisation for their Covid-19 vaccine ZyCoV-D in August this year. The vaccine will be given to adolescents between the ages of 12 and 18 for the first time in India.

It contains virus-derived genetic material that instructs the body to produce the specific spike protein that the immune system recognises. The vaccine has a 66.6 per cent efficacy in avoiding infection, with higher efficacy in situations of moderate and severe infection.

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