At least 100 million (or 10 crore) doses of Covishield, a coronavirus vaccine candidate, would be available by January, Serum Institute of India Chief Executive Officer Adar Poonawalla told NDTV on Monday. The Serum Institute of India is in an agreement with drug manufacturer AstraZeneca to produce at least 1 billion or 100 crore doses.

He added that hundreds of million of doses could be prepared by the end of February. One dose would be priced upto Rs 1,000 if purchased from a pharmacy. The Centre will buy 90% of the supply at Rs 250 per dose, Poonawalla added.

Around 40 million (or 4 crore) doses were already ready, said Poonawalla, whose company has collaborated with the government to mass-manufacture the vaccine, reported NDTV. The 10% of vaccines that were likely to be released to the private market is likely to occur by March. He said this delay would be due to the time needed to complete licencing procedure.

“Till then the general public is not likely to get it easily,” he said. “They will have to go to government distribution points and, if they are eligible, then they will get it. Otherwise they have to wait till March... because the priority is to vaccinate our most vulnerable,” Poonawalla told the news channel.

On November 19, the Serum Institute of India chief executive officer said that India can expect a coronavirus vaccine by December or early next year.

Data published in medical journal The Lancet on November 18 showed that the potential coronavirus vaccine being developed by the Oxford University and drug manufacturer AstraZeneca produced strong immune responses in older adults.

Poonawalla on October 12 said his company was planning to produce at least 100 million (10 crore) Oxford vaccine doses by December. The Indian Council of Medical Research and the Serum Institute of India on November 12 said their vaccine candidate, Covishield, could be a realistic solution to the Covid-19 pandemic.