Centre raises hopes of free COVID-19 vaccine, but benevolence can’t be at the cost of the economy

This article first appeared in the Firstpost. 

COVID-19 has assaulted the health of people and economies. The impact on the economy has led to further stress on people’s livelihoods. This unprecedented threat to public health has not been constrained by measures taken by national and state governments. All humankind is waiting with bated breath for a COVID-19 vaccine that can set us on a course to normalcy. The human and economic cost of COVID-19 has been immense and governments are stepping up to expedite vaccine availability.

Given the vaccine’s huge impact on public health, it is reasonable to expect that the government makes it available free for all. The cost of undertaking this exercise would depend on a variety of factors – cost of manufacturing, cost of supply chain and cost of administration of the vaccine. For example, nucleic acid-based vaccines have to be stored at sub-zero temperatures and are costly to make and transport. (Read more)