Rs 35k crore vaccine allocation in Budget can cover 50 crore Indians: Official
New Delhi, Feb 03: The Rs 35,000 crore allocation announced in Budget 2021 for COVID-19 vaccination programme will cover the full cost of vaccinating around 50 crore Indians, including the logistics costs, Expenditure Secretary TV Somanathan has said.
Somanathan added that the government has factored in the cost of two doses of vaccine required to vaccinate each person at Rs 700.
"We have tried to make a reasonable estimate of what it will cost. Our estimates are based on a calculation of Rs 700 per person - each requiring two doses. It (vaccine cost) is Rs 200-250 (for each shot), plus incidentals such as syringe, cold storage, transportation, honorarium for the staff. The pattern of funding will be decided by the health ministry and Niti Aayog in consultation with the states. Whether the number of people to be vaccinated is 50 crore or more, or less, will depend on multiple factors. There are so many variables," expenditure secretary T V Somanathan told TOI.
Both the vaccines that are currently being administered under India's vaccination programme - Covishield and Covaxin - follow a two-dose schedule.
The Modi government has identified four priority groups for Covid vaccination - health workers, frontline workers like police and defence personnel, those aged over 50, and those who are younger but have comorbidities. These four groups, according to government estimates, total around 30 crore people.