Our data analysis was on the Indian union government’s Covid-19 vaccination procurement policy for those aged 18-44 years. We found that passing procurement costs to state governments would significantly impact state government finances particularly in some of the poorest and least developed states in the country.
The analysis was republished by various media outlets and cited in the widely popular Hindi primetime news show by 2019 Ramon Magsasay Award winning journalist, Ravish Kumar.
We relied on the government’s population projection for 2021 based on the 2011 polulation Census to calculate relevant age groups for vaccination. In order to calculate costs we relied on budget estimates for various states, public information shared on social media by state goverments, and government approved retail costs for vaccines and central government’s vaccination portal . We used Google sheets for calculations and Infogram to create charts.
What was the hardest part of this project?
There was criticism against the government and concern about the impact of providing only 50% of the vaccinations through central procurement. Considering the exisiting financial constraints and inadequate health infrastructure and budget, vaccinating millions in some of the poorest and least developed states in the country would be a challenge.
Data on the age groups had to be seperately calculated based on population projections. Further, we did not receive responses or comments from any state goverment officials despite repeated requests which limited our access to state government strategy on vaccination.
What can others learn from this project?
Our intent was to inform readers about the gaps in vaccination policy expansion and costs incurred by states at a time when Covid-19 cases and fatalities were high. Our story offers an insight on how, with limited data, we can inform readers on the gaps in health policy during a pandemic.