As part of the soft launch, the first phase will kick-off in Hyderabad on May 17 and Visakhapatnam on May 18 at various Apollo Hospitals.

Two Sputnik V vaccine vials lined up, one with blue lid and one with red, text on vial on a white label in Russian
Money Vaccine Monday, May 17, 2021 - 17:08

A limited pilot of the Sputnik V vaccine will be carried out at Apollo Hospitals in select cities starting Monday, the hospital chain announced. Apollo on Monday announced a tie-up with Dr Reddy’s, which is importing the vaccine into the country. Earlier this month, Dr Reddy’s received 1.5 lakh doses. It is these doses that will be distributed by Apollo. The vaccine will reportedly be priced at Apollo at Rs 1,200-1,250 per dose.

Dr K Hari Prasad, President – Hospitals Division, Apollo Hospitals Enterprises Limited said that the hospital chain is also in discussions with corporates to undertake vaccination on their premises. Apollo was one of the few private hospital chains to open up vaccinations for the 18-44 age group when vaccinations opened up to all on May 1.  He added that the pilot phase will help them prepare for the full launch.

“We are currently administering COVID vaccine at 60 locations across the country including Apollo Hospitals, Apollo Spectra hospitals and Apollo Clinics. This pilot phase will allow Dr. Reddy’s and Apollo to test the arrangements and cold chain logistics and prepare for the launch. We are confident that with the Sputnik V vaccine, we will be able to make a significant contribution to ease availability and access to COVID vaccines to the community at large,” Dr Prasad added. 

MV Ramana, CEO – Branded Markets (India & Emerging Markets), of Dr Reddy’s, said, “We are working to scale up the pilot and take the vaccine to other cities, and in the upcoming months we hope to inoculate as many Indians as possible.”

On May 14, Dr Reddy’s had announced that the first consignment of 1.5 lakh doses of Sputnik V it received from the Russian Direct Investment Fund had been given regulatory clearance. At the time, the soft launch of the vaccine commenced and Deepak Sapra, the company’s Global Head of Custom Pharma Services, received the first shot.

Dr Reddy’s also announced that the imported doses will be priced at Rs 948 + 5% GST, or Rs 995.4 per dose. The company said it is looking at the possibility of a lower price point when local supply begins. Dr Reddy’s received a second consignment of 60,000 doses on May 16.

By mid-June, Dr Reddy's expects stocks for commercial sales from RDIF and the company said it is in discussions with a couple of state governments and the Centre for supply of the vaccine.

Deepak Sapra earlier said the company will initially be looking tentatively at 35 cities where cold chain facilities are available for launching the product and span out based on the infrastructure. Sputnik V needs to be stored at -18 degrees centigrade.

In September last year, Dr Reddy's and RDIF entered into a partnership to conduct clinical trials of Sputnik V, which is developed by the Gamaleya National Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology. Dr Reddy's received approval from the Indian drug regulator for restricted emergency use of Sputnik V.