After making Rs 3,000-cr Statue of Unity, India seeks aid for vaccine price hike

Shubham Ghosh

New Delhi, Nov 17: This will certainly add fuel to the ongoing debate over the Statue of Unity, the 182 metre-high iron statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in Gujarat, which was inaugurated on his birth anniversary by Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently.

According to a report in The Telegraph, an upcoming price hike is likely to raise India's budget for a key vaccine by less than Rs 100 crore and the government has been forced to seek help of an international donor. And this has happened just after the country became home to the world's tallest statue made out of funds estimated at Rs 3,000 crore.

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The report cited public health experts saying the situation spoke volumes about India's less than impressive budget allocation for healthcare.

It also said the health ministry is trying to avoid a possible stock-out of the injectable poliovirus vaccine (IPV) when there is a global shortage and a decision has been taken by Sanofi, maker of the vaccine and the only IPV supplier to India, to revise the prices.

"A stock-out would mean the government would be forced to temporarily stop immunising infants with IPV, a vaccine critical to maintaining India's polio-free status and introduced in the public immunisation programme in 2015," The Telegraph report said.

It was said the price of the vaccine for India was set to rise from 0.75 euro (Rs 61) to 1.81 euros (Rs 147) per dose in 2019 and to 2.18 euros (Rs 177) per dose from 2020 to 2022, according to the Unicef.

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The report added that the health ministry has approached international organisation Gavi which supports immunisation in poor countries to help maintain IPV supplies to India.

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