Data

Data | Covishield and Covaxin currently among the cheapest COVID-19 vaccines globally

A healthcare worker receives a dose of COVISHIELD vaccine, produced by the Serum Institute of India, at a medical centre in Mumbai, India.   | Photo Credit: REUTERS

The costs of the two COVID-19 vaccines that were rolled out in India are lower compared to others in use around the world. However, the vaccine manufacturers have indicated that they may raise the cost going forward.

The overall cost of vaccination against COVID-19 in India would trump that of others. The estimated cost of vaccinating 50% of India’s population using the cheapest available vaccine (at ₹200 per dose) would require an allocation of more than 40% of India’s FY21 health budget. This allocation would be more than 1.5 times the share of all other routine vaccinations if the FY17 health budget is considered.

Cost factor

Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin is among the cheapest vaccines in use around the world. The table lists the average cost of select vaccines in rupees.

*Serum Institute of India will sell the first 100 million doses to the Indian govt. for a “special price” of ₹200 per dose, after which the price will be higher. The vaccine will be sold in the private market at ₹1,000 per dose.

^Bharat Biotech will provide 55 lakh doses to the govt., of which 16.5 lakh will be free of cost and the rest will cost ₹295 per dose. The adjusted cost after accounting for the free doses is about ₹206.5 per dose.

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Comparative cost

At ₹200 or $3.1 per dose (assuming the lowest available price in India as the base price), the COVID-19 vaccines available in India are slightly more expensive than routine vaccines. Prices of other vaccines were sourced from a 2016 IJMR paper. The conversion rate is set at $1 = ₹65 for this table.

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Share in budget

Assuming a cost of ₹400 per vaccine (two doses), vaccinating even 50% of India’s population would cost 42% of the FY21 health budget.

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An IJMR paper estimated that India’s immunisation budget was ₹9,451 cr. in 2017, which was 25% of the FY17 health budget. This includes the cost of injection supplies, personnel, transport, cold chain maintenance, training and more. So, the cost of the Indian COVID-19 vaccines, assuming the lowest possible cost and the population target of 50%, is more than 1.5 times the usual budget.

Source:”Current costs & projected financial needs...”, Susmita Chatterjee et al (IJMR) | PIB | Budget documents | CGA.

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2021 10:26:32 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/data/data-covishield-and-covaxin-currently-among-the-cheapest-covid-19-vaccines-globally/article33626629.ece

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