New Delhi, October 22: India, which accounts for the second-highest cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the world, has kept approximately Rs 51,000 crore ($7 billion) to vaccine people across the country, according to a report. The Modi government estimates that an all-in vaccination cost of about $6-$7 (roughly Rs 450-550) per person, Bloomberg said in its report on Thursday, quoting unnamed sources. COVID-19 Vaccine in India: 30 Million, Including Frontline Health Workers, to be Vaccinated in First Phase.
The Modi government has estimated two injections per person at $2 (Rs 150) a shot. India has a population of 1.3 billion, Bloomberg reported. Another $2-$3 is said to be set aside per person as infrastructure costs such as storage and transportation of the vaccine, once it is available. The government recently launched a massive exercise to map out cold chain storage facilities across the country so that the vaccine is stored and delivered quickly to all citizens. Bharat Biotech, Serum Institute of India Developing Intranasal Vaccines for COVID-19; What Is an Intranasal Vaccine? Updates on Anti-Coronavirus Intranasal Vaccines’ Development.
The money provisioned so far for mass vaccination against COVID-19 is for the current financial year ending March 31 and there will be no shortage of further funds for this purpose, the sources added. Last month, Adar Poonawalla, the CEO of the Serum Institute of India (SII), had sought to know whether the Indian government would have sufficient financial resources to buy and distribute COVID-19 drugs as part of the mass vaccination plan.
Poonawalla, whose SII is the world's largest manufacturer of vaccines, had predicted that India would need about 800 billion rupees to procure and inoculate its population. The SII is conducting trials of COVID-19 vaccine candidates like the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine.
In his Independence Day speech on August 15, PM Narendra Modi had said that mass production of the vaccine for COVID-19 would begin in India once scientists give their nod, and a roadmap was ready to ensure it reaches everyone in the country in the shortest possible time. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has repeatedly targetted the central government, saying it has no strategy for public access to a COVID-19 vaccine.
(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Oct 22, 2020 06:12 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).