After Moderna, Pfizer Declines COVID Vaccine Request from Punjab

Many states, including Punjab, are reeling under an acute shortage of COVID-19 vaccines. 

2 min read
 After Moderna, Pfizer Declines COVID Vaccine Request from Punjab

US pharmaceutical firm Pfizer has refused to supply COVID-19 vaccines directly to Punjab, a day after Moderna rejected Punjab's efforts to procure vaccines, 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 on Monday, 24 May.

This comes in the background of the state administration's vaccination drive being adversely impacted due to an acute paucity of vaccines. As a result, Punjab floated global tenders for the supply.


Vaccine Shortages

Speaking to The Indian Express on the decision by Moderna earlier, 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.”

He had added that the administration is making an effort to replenish their vaccine supply from all sources, and have also floated tenders to Sputnik V manufacturer Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology and Johnson & Johnson.

Garg reportedly stated that the state had received a “positive” response from COVAX, but declined to provide details.

Other states and the BMC have also floated similar tenders to vaccine manufacturers all over the world, as the country faces a shortage in vaccine supply amid the second wave of COVID-19.

Saying that the state had received less that 44 lakh doses from the Union government, Punjab was also compelled to halt the vaccination process for frontline and healthcare workers, as well as for people over the age of 45.

While the Amarinder Singh administration has set aside Rs 1,000 crore for purchase of vaccines for the 18-44 group, it has only been able to buy only 4.2 lakh doses. A total of 3.65 lakh doses have been administered, leaving the government with a stock of only 64,000 as of now, Garg added.

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