Government dismisses Adar Poonawalla’s 80,000 crore estimate for vaccine distribution

Government dismisses Adar Poonawalla’s 80,000 crore estimate for vaccine distribution


(This story originally appeared in on Sep 30, 2020)

NEW DELHI: The government on Tuesday said it has drawn estimates about Covid-19 vaccine requirement and that there are adequate resources to ensure availability to those who need it on priority.

However, the government disagreed with the calculation that Rs 80,000 crore is required for distribution of Covid-19 vaccine, health secretary Rajesh Bhushan said.

The comment came in the wake of a tweet by Serum Institute of India chief executive Adar Poonawalla last week asking the government whether it will have Rs 80,000 crore available over next one year to cater to the country’s requirement of Covid-19 vaccine.

“We do not agree by the calculation of Rs 80,000 crore. The government has made a national committee on vaccine experts and five meetings have taken place till now. In these meetings, we have mulled over the process of Covid-19 vaccine distribution and the amount required for it in terms of prioritisation of population and the staggered immunisation for this prioritisation,” Bhushan said.

“We have calculated the amount required in the meetings and currently, that amount is available with the government,” he added.

“Quick question; will the government of India have Rs 80,000 crores available, over the next one year? Because that’s what @MoHFW_INDIA needs, to buy and distribute the vaccine to everyone in India. This is the next concerning challenge we need to tackle,” Poonawalla had tweeted.

Poonawalla’s tweet was followed by another tweet on Sunday applauding PM Narendra Modi’s commitment towards India providing vaccines to the global community. “It is clear that all your arrangements for India will take care of all needs for the Indian people,” Poonawalla said in that tweet.

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