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India has set aside $7 billion to vaccinate its vast population: Sources

"The money provisioned so far is for the current financial year ending March 31 and there will be no shortage of further funds for this purpose," the people with knowledge of the matter added.
Oct 23, 2020 / 05:13 PM IST
 
 
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To vaccinate the population of 1.3 billion Indians against COVID-19, the government has set aside nearly $7 billion i.e. Rs 50,000 crore, Bloomberg reported quoting people with knowledge of the matter.

The Modi government has estimated an all-in cost of about $6-$7 per person, they said on anonymity.

"The money provisioned so far is for the current financial year ending March 31 and there will be no shortage of further funds for this purpose," they added.

The government has estimated two injections per person at $2 per shot. Another $2-$3 is said to be set aside per individual for storage and transport costs.

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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Recently, the head of Serum Institute of India  Adar Poonawalla on September 26 asked if the government will have 'Rs 80,000 crore available' over the next one year, which is the amount, according to him, needed to buy and distribute a COVID-19 vaccine across the country.

Follow our LIVE blog for the latest updates of the novel coronavirus pandemic

Mahesh Devnani, an associate professor at the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research in Chandigarh has also said that, "Delivering a vaccine across India “will be a gigantic task.”

According to an estimate by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), distribution of the COVID-19 vaccines to more than seven billion people across the globe could require a global airlift of 8,000 Boeing 747 freighters.

Biocon founder and chairman, Kiran Mazumdar said, the biggest challenge will be building of cold-chain logistics across the country in a short time.

On October 20, PM Modi has said that the government is working swiftly to ensure every Indian has access to a COVID-19 vaccine when it is ready and that Indian scientists are working hard towards developing a strong candidate for the same. The country has been more successful in saving lives than other developed nations with a recovery rate of 88 percent.

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan has also said that by February 2021, India would have 40,000 active cases if COVID-appropriate behavior is followed.

As per the Health Ministry data, COVID-19 recoveries in India have crossed 69 lakh. The number of coronavirus infections reported was also below 60,000 for the fifth consecutive day as of October 23.

Serum Institute of India, which has partnered with AstraZeneca for manufacturing the Oxford COVID-19 vaccine, has said that India is likely to get a COVID-19 vaccine by March 2021.

Follow our full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic here.
Moneycontrol News
first published: Oct 23, 2020 05:13 pm

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