New Delhi: India will continue to get financial assistance from Gavi, a global alliance for vaccination and immunisation, only till 2020 because as the country develops it will have to pay for its vaccines.
Switzerland-based Gavi is on a drive to increase its global immunisation programme in which India has been an important partner.
"India is getting to a point where it will enter the period of graduating from Gavi's support, probably in 2016," Gavi Chief Executive Officer Seth Berkley told PTI.
Under Gavi's norms, when a country crosses a particular line of level of income, it enters a five-year transition period, after the completion of which the alliance does not pay for vaccines used in the country, he said.
"So it is possible for India to receive Gavi's financial support till 2020," he added.
"After the transition period, Gavi will not be paying for the vaccines but we try to see that the vaccines remain available and that their prices remain as close to Gavi prices as possible," Berkley said.
In this transition period, Gavi will also be discussing what else can be done to help India in further increasing its immunisation programme, he added.
Under its programmes, India has received USD 400 million so far, Berkley said but did not comment on how much more the country could get in future.
"We have been working with India for a long time and now. We have worked with hepatitis B vaccine in the beginning and have also supported health system in India," he added.
Highlighting the role of Indian firms in the immunisation worldwide, he added: "Gavi buys about 60 per cent of vaccines from Indian companies such as Serum Institute, Shantha, Bharat Biotech, Biological E and Panacea."
On its part the Government of India has launched "Mission Indradhanush" that aims to cover all those children who are either unvaccinated, or are partially vaccinated against seven vaccine preventable diseases which include diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus, polio, tuberculosis, measles and hepatitis by 2020.
Gavi is present in 73 countries in which 60 per cent of world's births take place. It was formed in 2000 and between 2000 and 2015 it has immunised half-a-billion children and prevented more then 7 million deaths.
Following a successful Pledging Conference in Berlin, where donors pledged more than USD 7.5 billion towards Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance aims to support the immunisation of an additional 300 million children between 2016 and 2020.