Vaccine cost dilemma - GulfToday

Vaccine cost dilemma

Covid-19 Vaccine

All efforts should be made to keep costs of vaccines as low as possible.

There is an ongoing discussion about the proposed price of the vaccine to treat COVID-19. The vaccines could be available at US$ three to 30 per dose. Some of these vaccines may requires two jabs, so the cost may escalate to $60 per person. The final price will be determined, in the next few months, in consultation with various governments. The Chinese vaccine Sinovac, is already being sold in select cities in the country, at $60 for two jabs.

However, all efforts should be made to keep costs as low as possible, so that even the poorest of the poor in developing countries, have easy access to the vaccine. It is in the universal interest to ensure that everyone gets inoculated, for even a few persons who are infected, can spread the disease like a wildfire. Many of the companies researching the vaccines are incurring development and research costs amounting to billions of dollars. For instance, AstraZeneca has indicated development, distribution, regulatory costs of around one billion dollars in developing the vaccine.

The development and research costs in discovering the vaccines, should not be loaded to the selling cost of the vaccine, to keep the prices low. The development costs, should be reimbursed directly by the  governments of all countries, in a ratio, determined by their GDPs and their populations sizes. The WHO can help to broker this ratio of sharing the development costs between countries.

The goals of all governments should be to administer the vaccine free, without any charge. If the middle class and richer citizens wish to pay voluntarily for their vaccine jabs and even contribute more, they should deposit the money in a government fund, which can be deployed to assist those who cannot afford the vaccine.

Rajendra Aneja
Mumbai, India

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