The union finance ministry has sanctioned Rs 480 crore for the first phase of immunisation drive, which is likely to start in the coming days. The amount will be used for the operational cost of the vaccination, while the cost of the vaccine would be above this amount.
The amount is likely to be disbursed on the basis of beneficiary load on the states, the Economic Times reported citing a government official. This means states with more healthcare workers registered on Co-WIN platform would get more funds. It is the same formula that was applied for disbursing the COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health System Preparedness package in April last year.
So far, there is no information about the price of the two approved vaccines. Negotiations with the Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech are still underway. The daily, citing sources said, the operational cost would be channelled through National Health Mission, while the vaccine cost would be funded through PM-CARES.
Serum Institute CEO Adar Poonawalla had publicly stated that his company would sell the vaccine at the price of Rs 200 per dose to the government. However, the allocation seems to suggest that the government is seeking to buy the vaccine at a price of Rs 70-80 per dose.
It is also not clear yet whether the sanctioned amount for the vaccination is the final amount or if more funds will be allocated if required.
In phase 1, the government has identified three priority groups, including 1 crore healthcare workers, 2 crore frontline workers, and 27 crore elderly, most above the age of 50 years with co-morbidities. As per the daily, 78.62 lakh health care workers had been registered on Co-Win software till Thursday - which is lower than the targeted 1 crore.
The health ministry has notified all state government and union territories to ensure all names get uploaded on the Co-WIN platform to avoid any last-minute glitches during the vaccination drive.