Vaccine Shortage: States Float Global Tenders To Procure Doses
With India having exported over 60 million doses of the COVID vaccine, the country now faces a vaccine shortage.
Amid an acute vaccine shortage, several states including Delhi, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Odisha, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Haryana and Andhra Pradesh have decided to float global tenders for the procurement of COVID vaccines.
After a premature victory was declared over COVID-19, with India having exported around 60 million doses of the COVID vaccine, the country is now facing a severe vaccine shortage amid a second wave that has wreaked havoc in India.
With the Prime Minister announcing the differential pricing policy under Phase 3 of the vaccination drive, which began on 1 May, states have been left to vaccinate its citizens in the 18 to 44 year old age group by themselves.
Aam Aadmi Party leader Atishi on Tuesday, 11 May, claimed that Delhi's stock of Covaxin for people in the 18 to 44 age group has been completely used, forcing the Delhi government to shut 125 centres where the coronavirus vaccine was being administered.
Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Tuesday said that the Delhi government will float a global tender for procuring coronavirus vaccines.
Addressing a press conference, Sisodia alleged that the BJP-ruled Centre was “forcing” state governments to invite global tenders for vaccine procurement, adding that the Central government wants states to compete and fight with each other in the international market for vaccines.
On 27 April, the Maharashtra government floated a global tender to procure 10 lakh Remdesivir vials, 40,000 oxygen concentrators and 25,000 metric tonnes of oxygen in the wake of a surge in COVID-19 cases.
Maharashtra Guardian Minister Aaditya Thackeray announced on Tuesday, that to ensure vaccination for the citizens of Mumbai, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has been asked to look for possibilities of global procurement of vaccines after discussion with Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. A global tender for purchase of about 50 lakh doses to ramp up Mumbai’s immunisation drive will be issued this week once the rules of the global tenders are finalised.
Deputy Chief Minister and state COVID task force head CN Ashwath Narayan announced on Tuesday that the Karnataka government has decided to procure two crore vaccine doses through global tender in order to accelerate vaccination of the age group of 18-44 years.
Narayan added that an order has already been placed for three crore vaccine doses, which includes one crore Covaxin and two crore Covishield doses.
Narayan said, “Till now, we had depended only on vaccines supplied by the Central government and it was not procured from the open market by floating tender. Now, it has been instructed to float the tender and to complete the process within seven days,” Indian Express reported.
The Telangana government on Tuesday decided to invite global tenders for the procurement of vaccines to inoculate the state’s entire population of an estimated 3.98 crores. The decision was made along with the imposition of a 10-day complete lockdown in the state.
Odisha Chief Secretary S C Mohapatra said that the state government, at a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, decided to float a global tender for procuring the vaccines on Monday, 10 May, PTI reported.
It was announced in a government notification that the Odisha State Medical Corporation (OSMC) will float the global e-tender and a 10-member Technical Committee and nine-member Managerial Committee to supervise the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines through the global tender.
Uttar Pradesh government had earlier this month floated global e-tenders to procure four crore doses of COVID-19 vaccines from licensed manufacturers. Online short-term global e-tenders have been invited from licensed manufacturers for the supply of 40 million doses of COVID vaccine, Uttar Pradesh Medical Supply Corporation Limited (UPMSCL) officials said last week.
After taking a decision to administer the COVID vaccine to all above 18 years, CM Yogi Adityanath on 29 April had decided to float global tenders to purchase over four crore doses of vaccine.
Officials said that the Andhra Pradesh government will float a global tender in a day or two for the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines from foreign manufacturers to complete the vaccination process as quickly as possible, for an estimated 2.04 crore people in the 18 to 44 age group, PTI reported.
State’s Principal Health Secretary Anil Kumar Singhal said, “We are exploring the option of buying the vaccine from any foreign manufacturer since there is a short supply of Covishield and Covaxin.”
The Tamil Nadu government has also planned to invite short-term global tenders to procure COVID-19 vaccines, for the purpose of inoculating those in the age group of 18 to 44.
The decision came after a review meeting on the preventive measures to be taken for controlling the spread of the infection in the state.
Chief Minister MK Stalin took to Twitter to express that said he and opposition leaders have written to Prime Minister Modi, urging him to procure vaccines centrally from all available sources to start a free universal vaccination, among other demands.
Haryana’s health minister Anil Vij on Thursday, 13 May, said that the state government will float a global tender for COVID-19 vaccines to make the vaccination process for those aged between 18 and 44 years free of cost.
The minister went on to tweet that the tenders to buy the vaccine will be floated at the earliest.
Vij had participated in a COVID review meeting with Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Wednesday, and said that Haryana needed more vaccine to administer the second dose in time.
(With inputs from PTI and Indian Express)
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