A day after the first indigenously developed Human Papillomavirus vaccine against cervical cancer was launched, Serum Institute of India CEO Adar Poonawalla on Wednesday said the vaccine will be available in small quantity this year and its production will be boosted next year to take care of the needs of the nation.
Speaking on the sidelines of an event after presenting the vaccine to Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya, Poonawalla said the vaccine ‘CERVAVAC’ will be made available through the government programme this year.
The vaccine for 9-14-year-old was launched on Tuesday in the presence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Poonawalla, and Director of Government and Regulatory Affairs at Serum Institute of India, Prakash K Singh.
It will be available at a much lower price than the internationally branded vaccines available in the market, Singh had said earlier.
The vaccine will be included in the National Immunisation Programme by
mid-2023, government officials had said.
The vaccine has received the DCGI’s approval and cleared by the government advisory panel NTAGI for use in the public health programme.
It is noteworthy that the country at present is fully dependent on foreign manufacturers for the HPV vaccine. Three foreign companies manufacture the vaccine, out of which two firms sell their vaccines in India. Each dose of the jab available in the market costs over Rs 4,000, sources said.
Serum Institute’s vaccine is likely to be available at a much lower rate.
In September 2022, Poonawalla had said that the HPV vaccine would be available in India at an affordable price of Rs 200-400 per dose.
India is home to about 16 per cent of the world’s women and accounts for about a quarter of all cervical cancer incidences and nearly a third of global cervical cancer deaths. Indian women face a 1.6 per cent lifetime cumulative risk of developing cervical cancer and 1.0 per cent cumulative death risk from cervical cancer.
According to some recent estimates, every year, almost 80,000 women develop cervical cancer and 35,000 die due to this disease in India.
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