The Ministry of Health and Population has demanded Rs 33 billion to arrange vaccines against the COVID-19 infection.

In a pre-budget discussion held by the Parliamentary Finance Committee today, Health Secretary Laxman Aryal said that the amount was needed to provide vaccination against coronavirus to the 72 per cent of the population.

He said the ministry needed Rs 33 billion for purchasing vaccines in the fiscal year 2021-22, apart from other funds necessary for the prevention and control of COVID-19 infection from spreading.

To provide two doses of the vaccine to 21.5 million people, Rs 48 billion will have to be spent, of which Rs 33 billion should be allocated through the upcoming budget, said Aryal.

The ministry has also submitted a statement to the committee stating that the ministry has spent Rs 5.17 billion on the identification, prevention, control, and treatment of COVID-19 till mid-April.

The ministry has stated that Rs 2.54 billion is yet to be paid for the vaccination programme.

A version of this article appears in the print on April 23, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.