Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday, 24 May, claimed that vaccine makers Pfizer and Moderna had both refused to sell the COVID-19 jabs directly to the Delhi government, reported ANI.
“We’ve spoken to Pfizer, Moderna for vaccines, and both the companies have refused to sell vaccines directly to us. They have said that they will deal with the Government of India alone,” he reportedly said.
CM Kejriwal also appealed to the Centre to import the vaccines and distribute them to the states.
Delhi is facing a shortage of vaccine supply and on Saturday, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced that due to a shortage of vaccines for the 18-44 age group, the national capital is halting COVID-19 vaccinations for this age group.
“Vaccine stock for this category has been consumed. Due to this, vaccination centres for the youth have been shut,” CM Kejriwal said.
Punjab Gets a No From Moderna
On Sunday, it was reported that US-based pharmaceutical and biotech firm Moderna had rejected Punjab’s efforts to procure COVID-19 vaccines, saying that it doesn’t supply directly to states, and will deal only with the Government of India.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Punjab government’s Nodal Officer for Vaccination Vikas Garg said, “They have written to us that as a part of their policy, they do not deal directly with states or private parties. They only deal with the Government of India.”
This came in the background of the state administration halting its phase one and two vaccination drive due to an acute paucity of vaccines.
Many states of India, as well as the BMC have floated similar tenders to vaccine manufacturers all over the world, as the country faces an acute shortage in vaccine supply amid the second wave of COVID-19.
All Vaccination Sites in Delhi for 18-44 age Group Closed; Covaxin Centres for 45+ Shut Too: Dy CM Sisodia
Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, in an online briefing, informed that all the 400 vaccination sites for the 18-44 age group have been closed in Delhi after the vaccine stock was over. Further, Sisodia informed that, due to unavailability of jabs, the Centre's administering of the Covaxin to the 45+ age group, healthcare workers, and frontline workers has also been shut.
Sisodia also said they have spoken to Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson and Johnson for vaccines, but Pfizer and Moderna have said they will only talk to the Centre.
“Pfizer and Moderna have refused to sell us directly, saying they are talking to the Centre. The Centre has not approved Pfizer and Moderna, whereas the world over, they have been approved and bought by countries.”Manish Sisodia
The Deputy Chief Minister urged the Centre to approve Pfizer and Moderna on war footing.
"I urge the Centre not to make this vaccination programme a joke. Approve Pfizer and Moderna on war footing, rather than asking states to approach these companies. It should not happen that by the time we get vaccines, the time comes that even the antibodies of those who have been vaccinated are finished and they will again require vaccination.”
Dy CM Sisodia Writes to Health Minister
Meanwhile, Manish Sisodia also, on Monday, wrote to Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan urging the Centre to "come up with a centralised vaccine procurement and allocation policy".
Further, in his letter, Sisodia informed the Centre:
- Delhi approached Pfizer and Moderna but were told they're dealing only at the central government level.
- The Delhi government is ready to pay any cost for vaccines.
“Considering the impact on the lives of the people of Delhi, we do not mind paying whatever the price for the procurement of vaccines.”Manish Sisodia
He also alleged that “in spite of the early advantages given by our scientific community and Indian manufacturers,” the Centre has “squandered away” the opportunity to vaccinate the people of the country in a timely manner.
“The missed opportunity by the Government of India has resulted in extraordinary loss of lives during the current wave of COVID pandemic,” wrote Sisodia.
Urging the Centre to come out with a “coherent, transparent and effective vaccination policy” for all citizens, including children, the Deputy CM wrote:
“A meaningful vaccination policy on the above lines will prevent further loss of life and also allow the battered economy to revive.”Manish Sisodia
Read full text of Manish Sisodia's letter to Harsh Vardhan here:
(With inputs from ANI and The Indian Express)
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