The government’s back of the envelope calculation suggests the first phase of priority vaccination for COVID could entail a spend of Rs 18,000 crore. Sources say a double dose vaccination drive could fall in the range of Rs 600 per person, including the delivery and administration costs.
With the expert panel on vaccine administration comprising Niti Aayog and health ministry officials, in the process of identifying 30 crore priority beneficiaries like health care and sanitation workers, police, people with co-morbidities and the elderly, the projected cost of vaccination in the initial phase could settle around Rs 18,000 crore.
However, these are approximations as the actual cost of the vaccination have not been firmed up, sources cautioned. With the actual covid vaccine yet to pass human trials and receive regulatory approvals, it could be some time before India is able to procure the projected, priority 60 crore doses for the high-risk population.
Hence, the government hasn’t decided yet, on how much needs to be set aside for the COVID vaccination, either for this year or the next, sources explained.
But funds are not an issue at all. For an economy of India’s size, the vaccination budget is the least of the concerns, sources explain. “Whatever is the amount it will be provided”, sources say.
For a larger population, the government may look at a projected spend of Rs 48,000 crore - Rs 50,000 crore, including the high-risk groups. Depending of course on the efficacy and availability of the vaccine.
(Edited by : Pranati Deva)
First Published: IST