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This is the cost of vaccinating India against COVID-19

Amitabh Tiwari & K Shankar
·4-min read

The registration for vaccination for people above 18 years of age commenced on April 28. As per some reports people faced issues with respect to registering and booking slots for getting a jab.

More than 1 crore (10 million) people registered for the vaccinations in three hours on the CoWIN website.

Till Thursday, 15 crore vaccinations have been administered for people above 45 years of age, healthcare and frontline workers.

How much will it cost to vaccinate the population above 18 years of age in India?

The Government of India (GoI) had earmarked Rs 35,000 crore for vaccination program in the budget for financial year 2021-22.

An individual is required to take two doses of the vaccine. At Rs 150 per dose, the price at which GoI secured supplies from Serum Institute and Bharat Biotech, it essentially provided for the vaccination of the entire population above 18 years of age.

India had 88 crore voters in the 2019 general elections which can be used as a proxy for the population above the age of 18.

A study by India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra) has pegged the overall cost of vaccinating all Indians above 18 years of age against COVID-19 at Rs 67,193 crore (which works out to be just 0.365 of the GDP), of which states together will incur Rs 46,323 crore.

The Centre has already spent Rs 5,090 crore on procuring 21.4 crore vaccines from Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech, it added.

Under the new open for all vaccination policy, the Centre will foot the bill for 45-plus age groups and healthcare/frontline workers, while the states and private sector will have to foot the bill for 18-44 age groups.

The states are in the process of securing supplies and this should stabilise in 2-3 weeks time. Serum has priced the vaccine at Rs 300 per dose for states, bringing it down from the Rs 400 per dose it announced earlier and terming it as a philanthropy act. Bharat Biotech, a day after Serum, too has slashed the price of its Covaxin from Rs 600 to Rs 400 per dose for the state governments.

There has been wastage too during the process of vaccination to the tune of 5%, pushing up the overall costs.

As per our calculations, it will cost India around Rs 46,600 crore under scenario 1 (the entire adult population gets jabs from government hospitals) and Rs 54,900 crore under scenario 2 (20% of 18-44 age group opts for vaccination in private hospitals / company establishments).

State-wise cost of vaccination (Source: www.politicalbaba.com)

India had a population of 137.1 crore as of 2019, as per Statistics Times. The cost of the vaccine for GoI is Rs 150/dose, which turns out to be Rs 300 per individual (both doses included).

The Serum Institute of India vaccine (Covishield) is priced at Rs 300/dose and the Bharat Biotech vaccine (Covaxin) at Rs 400/dose for state governments. Assuming a 90:10 ratio of supplies from these two companies, the blended cost is arrived at Rs 620 per individual for states.

For the private sector, Serum has priced the vaccine at Rs 600 per dose, while Bharat has priced it at Rs 1,200 per dose. In the same 90:10 ratio for supplies, a weighted average rate is arrived at Rs 1,320/ individual.

Under scenario 1, we have assumed that the entire adult population will go for free vaccination at government run hospitals.

Under scenario 2, we have assumed states will bear the cost for 80% of the 18-44 age group and the remaining 20% of this population will either pay themselves at private hospitals to get the jab or corporates / employers will pay for the same.

Note: Figures in Rs crore

The data for all those who have got vaccinated by paying Rs 250/dose over the last 3 months is not available and hence not considered. Hence, the actual cost for the Government of India would be even lower.

We have assumed that the entire adult population will get vaccinated. So far less than 60% of senior citizens and 25% of 45-59-year-olds have opted for vaccination.

However, this is very ambitious and a section of the population, especially in rural areas, may not opt for vaccination due social/religious/psychological factors unless it is made compulsory. Hence, the actual costs incurred would be lower than estimated.

These costs do not include administrative, storage, logistics, and transportation costs.

The cost of imports have not been considered in absence of tangible information on the same. If imports are at a price higher than the price offered by domestic manufacturers then it will push up overall costs and vice-a-versa.

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