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The Goods and Services Tax (GST) is a tax levied on the supply of goods and services in India. The GST rate on COVID vaccines is 5%. This rate was applicable from the inception of the GST regime in July 2017.


  • Cost Reduction for Vaccines: By applying a lower or zero GST rate to COVID vaccines, the cost of vaccines can be reduced. This makes vaccines more affordable and accessible to a larger segment of the population, promoting vaccination efforts and achieving higher vaccination rates.

  • Encouraging Vaccination Uptake: Lowering the cost barrier associated with vaccines can encourage more people to get vaccinated. High vaccination rates are essential in controlling the spread of COVID-19 and achieving herd immunity.

  • Government Subsidy Effectiveness: Governments may choose to subsidize the cost of vaccines to make them more affordable. Applying a lower GST rate ensures that the subsidy has a more significant impact on reducing the overall cost to consumers and the government.

  • Public Health Impact: Widespread vaccination is critical for public health and controlling the spread of COVID-19 variants. Reducing the cost of vaccines through favorable GST rates can contribute to achieving these goals.

  • Economic Recovery: Controlling the spread of COVID-19 through vaccination is vital for economic recovery. A vaccinated workforce is more productive and less susceptible to illness, which can help stimulate economic growth.

  • Global Competitiveness: Applying lower GST rates to vaccines can enhance a country’s global competitiveness in vaccine production and distribution. It encourages domestic production and export of vaccines, contributing to international efforts to combat the pandemic.

  • Compliance Incentives: Lower GST rates on vaccines can incentivize vaccine manufacturers and distributors to comply with GST regulations, reducing the likelihood of tax evasion in the industry.

  • Pharmaceutical Industry Growth: Favorable GST rates can boost the pharmaceutical industry’s growth and investment in vaccine production, research, and development, ultimately benefitting public health.

  • Healthcare Infrastructure Strengthening: The revenue generated from other sources of taxation can be used to strengthen healthcare infrastructure, such as hospitals and clinics, which are crucial during a health crisis.

  • Global Collaboration: Applying lower GST rates on vaccines can demonstrate a country’s commitment to global collaboration in the fight against the pandemic, fostering international cooperation.


  • Impact on Vaccine Cost: Depending on the GST rate applied, it could still result in a significant cost to individuals and governments. Higher GST rates may make vaccines less affordable for certain segments of the population or for countries with limited resources.

  • Budget Constraints: Governments may face budgetary constraints when subsidizing or reducing GST rates on vaccines, which can impact their ability to allocate funds to other essential healthcare services and pandemic response measures.

  • Resource Allocation: Resources used for GST rate reduction or subsidies for vaccines may divert funds from other critical healthcare needs, such as testing, treatment, and healthcare infrastructure development.

  • Complex Taxation Policies: Determining the appropriate GST rate for vaccines can be complex and may vary from one jurisdiction to another, leading to potential confusion and administrative challenges.

  • Tax Revenue Impact: Reducing GST rates on vaccines can result in a decrease in tax revenue for governments, which may need to find alternative sources of revenue to maintain public services.

  • Supply Chain Challenges: The application of GST rates can affect the entire supply chain of vaccines, from manufacturing to distribution. This can introduce complexities and compliance challenges for vaccine manufacturers and distributors.

  • International Considerations: Different countries may have varying tax policies on vaccines, which can impact cross-border trade, vaccine availability, and global vaccination efforts.

  • Tax Evasion Concerns: In some cases, the application of lower GST rates on vaccines may lead to potential misuse or tax evasion by businesses involved in the vaccine supply chain.

  • Equity Concerns: Depending on the specific GST rate structure, there may be equity concerns regarding which segments of the population benefit the most from rate reductions or subsidies, potentially leaving vulnerable populations underserved.

  • Adherence to Global Standards: Countries need to consider international agreements and standards related to vaccine pricing and taxation when determining GST rates. Deviating significantly from international norms can have diplomatic and trade implications.


  • The GST rate on COVID vaccines is 5%.
  • This rate has been applicable since the inception of the GST regime in July 2017.
  • The GST system is a destination-based tax, which means that the tax is paid in the state where the vaccine is consumed.
  • The GST system is transparent and easy to comply with, which has helped to reduce the administrative burden on businesses.
  • The GST rate of 5% is still a cost to businesses and consumers, but it is relatively low and has helped to keep the cost of vaccines affordable.
  • The GST system is complex, and there have been some challenges in its implementation.
  • The GST system has not been able to fully replace the pre-GST taxes, such as excise duty and service tax. This has led to some businesses facing higher taxes than they did before the GST was introduced.


Overall, the GST rates on COVID vaccines are a complex issue with a number of factors to consider. The government will need to weigh all of these factors when making decisions about the GST rate on COVID vaccines.


  • Policy Analysis: Auriga Accounting can analyze government policies related to GST rates on COVID vaccines to help businesses and organizations understand the implications and compliance requirements.

  • Tax Advisory: The firm can provide tax advisory services to vaccine manufacturers, distributors, and healthcare organizations, offering guidance on the GST implications of vaccine production, distribution, and administration.

  • Compliance Support: Auriga Accounting can assist businesses and organizations in ensuring compliance with GST regulations related to COVID vaccines, including helping them navigate any changes in tax rates or policies.

  • Financial Planning: The firm can help clients with financial planning and forecasting in light of changes in GST rates on vaccines. This can include assessing the impact on budgets and revenue projections.

  • Tax Optimization: Auriga Accounting can work with clients to optimize their tax positions related to COVID vaccine activities, such as exploring opportunities to claim input tax credits and minimize tax liabilities.

  • Record-Keeping: The firm can advise on best practices for record-keeping and documentation related to GST on vaccines, which is essential for compliance and audit readiness.

  • Representation: In the event of tax audits or disputes related to GST on vaccines, the firm can provide representation and support during interactions with tax authorities.

  • Customized Solutions: Auriga Accounting can offer customized solutions tailored to the specific needs and challenges faced by clients in the healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors.