Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman while presenting the Union Budget 2021 on Monday, increased allocation for the healthcare sector and provided Rs 35,000 crore towards Covid-19 vaccination in the financial year 2021-22. Indian Covid-19 vaccine makers Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech welcomed and applauded this announcement by the government.
While speaking about the budget announcements, Serum Institute of India CEO Adar Poonawalla said that globally, spending on healthcare infrastructure and vaccines have given countries and their economies the best bang for their buck. He said: “Investments in these areas have prevented hospitalizations and resulted in a healthier and more productive workforce, thereby leading to an efficient economy.”
Poonawa added: “Therefore we welcome the Finance Minister’s emphasis on healthcare spending, and immunization especially for Covid-29 and the pneumococcal vaccines as this will help India recover rapidly from this pandemic.” He also said that he hopes this announcement will encourage more innovation and expansion in the sector.
Bharat Biotech Chairman & Managing Director Krishna Ella also has responded positively to the budget announcement. Ella said: “It’s a great step ahead, and far-reaching budget announcement, providing Rs 35,000 crore for COVID-19 vaccination in 2021-22.”
Ella also said that the finance minister’s commitment to providing more funds to contain the pandemic and ensure an effective and smooth path for the vaccination scheme will help to lead the country towards a Covid-19 free Bharat.
The government’s move to focus on three areas – preventive health, curative health, and well-being, is very reassuring, Ella said.
In January, Indian drug regulators approved two Covid-19 vaccines for emergency use – Oxford-AstraZeneca University’s Covishield manufactured by SII and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin.