Centre more likely to increase COVID-19 vaccine spending to $6 billion this fiscal

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Monday in his speech to the nation that the federal government would reduce the cost of vaccinating all adults aged 21 and over.

Reuters | June 8, 2021 | Updated 08:59 AM

India could increase spending on COVID-19 vaccinations by more than a quarter this fiscal year, up to 450 billion rupees ($ 6.18 billion) from its budgeted amount, two government sources told Reuters after the prime minister all adults had offered free cans.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a speech to the nation on Monday that the federal government would bear the cost of vaccinating all adults from June 21st. His previous policy of getting individual states to pay for vaccinations for people under the age of 45 has been widely criticized. The sources, who refused to be named because they were not allowed to speak to the media, said the government would spend up to Rs.450 billion on COVID-19 vaccines this fiscal year, which began April 1 350 billion rupees. One of the sources said some of the increase could be due to higher costs for domestically made shots than before. He did not elaborate. The Indian Treasury Department did not immediately respond to an email asking for comment.

The country is currently using the AstraZeneca NSE 0.05% vaccine made by the Serum Institute of India and another one developed at home by Bharat Biotech. Russia’s Sputnik V will be launched commercially in the country in the middle of the month. Modi’s political change underscored its drive to contain a COVID-19 pandemic that has killed hundreds of thousands in India and led to the second highest number of infections in the world.

This was followed by weeks of criticism of a botched vaccine launch that hit less than 5% of India’s estimated adult population of 950 million.

Also Read: Center To Provide Free COVID-19 Vaccines To States Starting June 21st For Age Group 18+: PM Modi