Bharat Biotech hails Rs 35k cr budget allocation for COVID-19 vaccination

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Covaxin maker Bharat Biotech on Monday described as “far reaching” initiative the allocation of Rs 35,000 crore for COVID-19 vaccination in the Union Budget and said it would help the country become free of the viral disease.

Dr. Reddys Laboratories Ltd said the budget was growth-oriented with a lot of positive interventions and with “something in it for everyone”.

Welcoming the proposal for Rs 35,000 crore outlay for COVID-19 vaccines, city-based Bharat Biotech Chairman and Managing Director Krishna Ella said “Its a great step ahead, and far-reaching budget announcement., providing Rs 35,000 crore for COVID-19 vaccination in 2021-22.”

The Finance Minister’s commitment to providing more funds in order to contain the coronavirus pandemic and provide an effective, smooth path for the vaccination scheme “will help contain, and lead our nation towards accomplishing a COVID-19 disease-free Bharat,” he said in statement here.

The indigenous COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin and Oxford’s Covishield are being produced in the country and used during the ongoing inoculation drive.

The Rs 64,180 crore spending plan for healthcare over the next six years to be spent on primary, secondary, and tertiary healthcare, in addition to the National Health Mission was also a welcome move, he said.

This would strengthen public health services as 17,000 rural and 11,000 urban health and wellness centers and integrated public health labs would be set up in each district, Ella said.

The government focus, on three areas – preventive health, curative health, and well-being, was also very reassuring, he said.

“With this landmark budget, the Government of India has signaled its intention to make health a cornerstone of the future success of our country. The allocation to vaccines signals a shift to preventive health care, a validation of the fact that vaccines are the most cost-effective health care interventions, he added.

Chairman of Dr Reddy’s K Satish Reddy said the government has taken a big step on healthcare, making an outlay of 2.23 lakh crores, a 137 percent increase from last year, a step that was “long overdue”.

“On innovation and Research and Development (Research and Development), the additional allocation of Rs 50,000 crore over five years through the National Research Foundation marks a good beginning in improving the research eco-system in the country, he opined.

As with all budgets, this too contained concrete proposals that were encouraging but it was the execution that finally matters, he said, expressing hope this time the government gets it right.

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