After the prime minister gave free doses to all adults, two government sources told Reuters that India might increase spending on COVID-19 shots by more than a quarter this fiscal year, to up to 450 billion rupees ($6.18 billion).
In a Monday speech to the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that from June 21, the federal government would cover the expense of immunising all adults. His prior policy of requiring individual governments to pay for immunisations for anyone under 45 was widely disliked.
According to the sources, the government will spend up to 450 billion rupees on COVID-19 vaccines this fiscal year.
Three hundred fifty billion rupees was previously budgeted. According to one source, part of the raise could be attributable to higher-than-normal expenses for domestically manufactured shots.
The country is now employing the AstraZeneca NSE 0.05 per cent vaccine produced by the Serum Institute of India and a Bharat Biotech-developed vaccine. In the middle of this month, Russia’s Sputnik V will be commercially launched. Modi’s policy decision reflected a push to contain a COVID-19 pandemic, killed hundreds of thousands of people in India and resulted in the world’s second-highest infection rate.
It came after weeks of criticism following a failed vaccine rollout that only reached about 5% of India’s estimated adult population of 950 million people.