Govt’s vaccine spend in April at Rs 4,400 cr

By: |
May 13, 2021 5:45 AM

India (Centre and states) spend 1.26% of GDP (FY20BE) on health, way behind Brazil at 6.8%, Turkey 10.5% and Mexico 11.6%. States were estimated to spend about Rs 1.9 lakh crore in FY20BE while the Centre about Rs 77,000 crore.

The Select City Walk drive through facility is also providing Covaxin vaccine at the price of Rs 1450 per dose.The Select City Walk drive through facility is also providing Covaxin vaccine at the price of Rs 1450 per dose.

The Centre spent Rs 4,400 crore, or 12.6%, of its FY22 Budget outlay of Rs 35,000 crore for Covid vaccination in April, a senior official told FE. While it is too early to say whether additional allocation would be needed for the programme in this fiscal, given that states are also funding vaccination for people in the age group of 18-44 years, the cost to the central exchequer could be reined in, another official said.

The Centre’s vaccination drive is continuing as planned earlier, providing free vaccination for essential and priority population as defined earlier (healthcare workers, frontline workers) and vaccination for people above 45 years of age at government facilities.

The Centre will have at its disposal 50% of the vaccines being supplied by the manufacturers. The Centre has been procuring and passing on vaccines to the states as grants in kind and the actual administration of vaccines is being done by states.

Both Serum Institute of India (Covishield) and Bharat Biotech (Covaxin) have been supplying their vaccines to the Centre for Rs 150/dose.

For Covid-19 vaccination, the Centre’s Budget for FY22 has made a provision of Rs 35,000 crore to cover 50 crore people (Rs 700/person for two doses, including the vaccine cost of Rs 400-500). Since the price fixed by the Centre for its vaccine procurement (Rs 300 for two doses) is lower than its estimate of Rs 400-500 for two doses, it has some headroom to cover more people within the existing budget allocation.

After the Centre announced a ‘liberalised and accelerated’ Covid-19 vaccination programme beginning May 1, where all above 18 years of age will be eligible to be vaccinated, states have offered to vaccinate this age group free of cost at government facilities. Vaccine manufacturers have been empowered to release up to 50% of supplies directly to state governments and in the open market at pre-declared prices, a move that would boost availability of the prophylactics to the people.

If all states fully implement the free vaccination drive, it could cost them about Rs 30,000-40,000 crore (for 106 crore doses for 53 crore adults) at Rs 300/dose for Covishield and Rs 400/dose for Covaxin. Of course, the actual cost would be much less given that 100% vaccination is unlikely; also a segment of the healthcare workers and other frontline workers who have already received vaccine are in the 18-45 age group while some would bear cost themselves at private hospitals. For the private hospitals, SII is charging Rs 600/dose while Bharat Biotech Rs 1,200/dose.

Health expenditure, which was only about 5% of states’ annual aggregate expenditure in recent years, rose substantially in FY21 due to a rush to build healthcare infrastructure and purchase of medical equipment to battle Covid-19.

India (Centre and states) spend 1.26% of GDP (FY20BE) on health, way behind Brazil at 6.8%, Turkey 10.5% and Mexico 11.6%. States were estimated to spend about Rs 1.9 lakh crore in FY20BE while the Centre about Rs 77,000 crore.

According to the Constitution, the health sector falls under the state list and, thus, the provision of financing public health expenditure is primarily the responsibility of state governments. However, the Centre also implements a number of centrally sponsored schemes such as the National Health Mission (Urban and Rural), National Mission on AYUSH and the Ayushman Bharat scheme.

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