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Last Updated : Oct 27, 2020 08:30 AM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

COVID-19 vaccine distribution: Govt estimates outlay of Rs 50,000 crore; priority beneficiaries being identified

COVID-19 Vaccine: Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan has said that India plans to vaccinate 20-25 crore people by July 2021.

The Indian government is estimating Rs 45,000 to Rs 50,000 crore as the outlay for the COVID-19 vaccine distribution, which might cost around $6-7 per person, sources told CNBC-TV18, adding, the government may factor in the vaccine expenditure into Budget estimates.

They added that the National Expert Group, headed by NITI Aayog Member VK Paul, is studying allocations for early-phase vaccination.

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The government is also identifying the high-risk population and priority beneficiaries who will be administered the vaccine in the beginning. These may include people who are above 50 years of age, Police, Armed Forces, those working in healthcare sectors, sanitation workers, and high-risk target groups.

COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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Sources told CNBC-TV18 that over 30 crore people are likely to get the vaccine on priority.

Follow Moneycontrol's COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker here.

Earlier reports had also suggested that as per a draft plan, 70 lakh healthcare workforce from the public and private sector will be administered the COVID-19 vaccine. This includes 11 lakh MBBS doctors, 8 lakh Ayush practitioners, 15 lakh nurses, 7 lakh auxiliary nurse midwives (ANM), 10 lakh ASHA workers and 7-8 lakh allied professionals like sanitation workers, ambulance drivers and hospital security.

The process of identifying priority beneficiaries is on and the final list will be ready by October-end or early November.

According to reports, a distribution plan for the vaccine might include SMSes, QR code certificates and setting up booths at schools. An expert group has discussed these features in its framework for immunising the country in 2021.

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan had said on October 4 that India plans to vaccinate 20-25 crore people by July 2021.
First Published on Oct 26, 2020 04:49 pm
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