India may have to spend Rs 50000 crores on Immunization
Harish Gupta, National Editor, Lokmat Group
New Delhi, Oct 5
India will need Rs 50,000 crores approximately to vaccinate 20-25 crores people during the next one year. This is based on the estimates that one dose of Covid vaccine will be available to India at a price of $4-5 per dose.
The Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) has signaled that Covid vaccine price will be under ₹1,000. Every person will require at least two doses for immunization.
India will require at least 40-50 crores doses. Though India has been assured vaccine supplies by the WHO and Global Vaccine Alliance (GAVI) promoted by the Gates Foundation and Indian vaccine manufacturers and pharma companies.
This is far less than Rs 80,000 crores indicated by Adar Poonawalla of Seerum Institute of India a few days ago.
India may require at least 5 billion doses of vaccine if it is to immunize 25 crore population. The government is heavily dependent on AstraZeneca by University of Oxford being produced by the Seerum Institute and Bharat Biotech-ICMR joint project undergoing phase-II trials.
However, the Indian government has yet to make an upfront payment to pharma companies like the US, UK, European and other countries have made.
It is learnt that the Prime Minister’s Task Force headed by Dr V K Paul has been holding regular parleys with the global pharma chains researching and undertaking trials and also vaccine manufacturers who are producing vaccines on their behalf. India is a global vaccine hub and has a capacity of manufacturing two billion doses a year. These companies can ramp up production provided the government gives them facilities and funds.
The WHO has urged wealthier member states to join its Covid-19 vaccine, Covaxin, to ensure the equitable global distribution by end 2021. Gavi, the Global Alliance vaccine backed by the Gates Foundation, has raised $8.8 billion from world leaders and companies. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation pledged $1.6 billion.