States, Cities Scramble to Procure Vaccines: How They Are Faring
How many of them have got responses from manufacturers or suppliers? Here’s what’s happening in some of them.
Amid a devastating second wave of COVID-19 in the country and an acute shortage of vaccine doses, several states have issued global tenders for the procurement of vaccines. However, pharmaceutical giants like Pfizer and Moderna have refused to deal with states, including Delhi and Punjab, saying they will deal only with the Government of India.
So, how are states and cities faring when it comes to their efforts to procure the doses? How many of them have got responses from manufacturers or suppliers? Here’s what’s happening in some of them.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday, 26 May, said that the makers of the Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine will supply the doses to Delhi and talks were underway on the quantity Delhi will receive.
"Talks with the makers of Sputnik V are on. They will give us the vaccine, but the quantity is yet to be decided. Our officials met the representatives of the vaccine manufacturers on Tuesday too," the Delhi CM was quoted as saying at the launch of Delhi's first drive-through vaccination centre in Dwarka.
This came days after Kejriwal said that vaccine makers Pfizer and Moderna had both refused to sell their jabs directly to the Delhi government. "We've spoken to Pfizer and Moderna for vaccines and both have refused to sell vaccines directly to us. They have said that they will deal with the Government of India alone," he was quoted as saying.
Romania-based firm O2 Blue Energy SRL on Tuesday, 25 May, had submitted a proposal claiming that it can facilitate the acquisition of AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines, in response to Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's (BMC) call for the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines.
However, the firm withdrew its bid two days later, on Thursday, without providing any justification for the same, as per report by The Indian Express.
The BMC had released a global Expression of Interest (EOI) for the procurement of 1 crore COVID-19 vaccines in early May.
BMC Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal had said on Tuesday that a total of eight bids have been received till now, in response to the civic body's Global Expression of Interest for the procurement of 1 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses. The body had received one bid for Pfizer/AstraZeneca and the others for Sputnik.
With the withdrawal of the Romanian firm, the BMC is now left with seven bids.
Two suppliers have bid to supply Russia's Sputnik V and Sputnik Lite vaccines in response to Karnataka’s global tender for two crore doses.
Mumbai-based Bulk MRO Industrial Supply Pvt Ltd and Bengaluru-based Thulasi Systems have responded to the tender, which closed on Monday. However, no bids have come from major vaccine manufacturers, news agency PTI reported.
Rs 843 crore for vaccine procurement were recently approved by the Karnataka government.
After Moderna rejected Punjab's efforts to procure vaccines, US firm Pfizer, too, refused to supply COVID-19 vaccines to the state earlier this week, saying that it doesn't supply directly to states, and will deal only with the Government of India.
"Coming on the heels of Moderna, another COVID vaccine manufacturer Pfizer, while appreciating the 'Extraordinary efforts' of the Government of Punjab in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic in the state, has also refused to send direct vaccination to Punjab government as according to their policy, they only deal with Government of India," the Punjab government said.
Speaking to The Indian Express on the decision by Moderna earlier, Punjab government’s Nodal Officer for Vaccination Vikas Garg had said that the administration is making an effort to replenish its vaccine supply from all sources, and had also floated tenders to Sputnik V manufacturer Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology and Johnson & Johnson.
Telangana had solicited global tenders for the acquisition of 1 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses in early May, in order to ramp up the state's immunisation drive.
The state had approached the makers of AstraZeneca and Sputnik V vaccines, and has received a favourable response from both manufacturers, as per an ANI report.
Dr G Srinivisa Rao, Director of Public Health and Family Welfare, Telangana, told ANI that the state government is in the process of negotiation with both companies.
The tender document issued by Telangana on 18 May, Tuesday, has stipulated Friday, 4 June as the last date for the submission of bids.
(With inputs from PTI, The Indian Express and ANI)
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