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India’s new vaccine policy makes welcome improvements – but big questions still remain

BUY-SELL | HELP WANTED | MATRIMONIAL

The government announced a revised vaccination policy on June 7. Compared to the liberalised vaccination policy of April 19, there are welcome changes in it. However, a careful reading of the new policy also raises some important questions, the answers to which we are unable to deduce or find in the public domain. In what follows, we outline the changes and explain why we welcome them. We also list out our questions and hope that we find the answers via our readers.

The single most important change, and it is a welcome one, is that the Union government will now procure 75% of all vaccines produced by domestic manufacturers. As per the earlier policy, this was 50%, with the remainder being procured by the states and by private entities. In effect, the change is that states no longer have to worry about procurement. Unfortunately, the new policy document is silent on imported vaccines.

Vaccines procured by the Union government will now be allocated to the states on the basis of “population, disease burden and progress of vaccination.” The document also states that vaccine wastage will have a negative impact on allocation.

Prioritising performance

Any allocation formula for a country as large as India will inevitably leave some people dissatisfied. That, unfortunately,…

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