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Facing vaccine shortage, these states decide to float global tenders to procure Covid jabs

Several states, which have been witnessing a huge caseload in the past few weeks, were forced to shut vaccination centers amid vaccine shortage even as the third phase of the immunization programme is underway.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: May 11, 2021 9:09:15 pm
Covid-19 vaccinationPeople wait inside a Covid-19 vaccination centre to get their jabs in New Delhi. (Express Photo by Tashi Tobgyal)

With India facing an acute shortage of vaccines amidst a ferocious second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, several states have decided to float global tenders to procure the jabs to ramp up the inoculation drive.

Several states, which have been witnessing a huge caseload in the past few weeks, were forced to shut vaccination centers amid vaccine shortage even as the third phase of the immunization programme is underway.

On May 1, the central government had opened up vaccination for all citizens above 18 years of age. An analysis of district-wise data obtained by The Indian Express has revealed that as many as two-thirds of all districts reporting a positivity rate of more than 20 per cent — an index of the pandemic’s current severity and its potential spread — have reported an alarming dip in vaccination after the Centre’s new norms kicked in May 1.

According to the Liberalised Pricing and Accelerated National COVID-19 Vaccination Strategy, COVID-19 vaccination is free at government vaccination centres that receive doses from the Centre for eligible population groups comprising healthcare workers, frontline workers and people above the 45 years of age.

However, states and private hospitals have to procure vaccines to immunise persons in the age group of 18 to 44 years.

Here is a list of all states which have decided to float global tenders to procure Covid vaccines. 

Delhi

With the national capital grappling with the second wave and vaccine shortage, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia 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.

Karnataka

The Karnataka government has decided to procure two crore vaccine doses through global tender in order to meet the increased demand and to facilitate vaccination of the age group of 18-44 years, Deputy Chief Minister and state COVID task force head CN Ashwath Narayan said on Tuesday.

In addition to this, an order has already been placed for three crore vaccine doses — one crore Covaxin and two crore Covishield, he said.

The decision was taken at a high-level meeting he chaired, his office said in a statement. “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,” Narayan said.

Telangana

The Telangana cabinet Tuesday decided to invite global tenders for the procurement of vaccines to inoculate the state’s entire population. The decision was made along with the imposition of a 10-day complete lockdown in the state.

Odisha

Amid an acute shortage of vaccines, the Odisha government on Monday decided to float a global tender for procuring the vaccines, Chief Secretary S C Mohapatra said. The decision was made at a Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.

The Odisha State Medical Corporation (OSMC) will float the global e-tender, a government notification said. The state government constituted a 10-member Technical Committee and nine-member Managerial Committee to supervise the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines through the global tender, the notification said.

The Cabinet also allowed the state government to exert pressure on the Centre for exemption of taxes like GST on vaccines, medicines and equipment required for the treatment of coronavirus patients.

Uttar Pradesh

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 supply of 40 million doses of Covid vaccine, Uttar Pradesh Medical Supply Corporation Limited (UPMSCL) officials said last week.

State officials on Tuesday said that UP may directly procure a large amount of international COVID-19 vaccines such as Sputnik V and those developed by Moderna and Johnson & Johnson.

After taking a decision to administer the COVID vaccine to all above 18, CM Yogi Adityanath on April 29 had decided to float global tenders to purchase four-five crore doses of vaccines.

Maharashtra

Last month, the Maharashtra government said it will float a global tender for COVID-19 vaccines and Remdesivir injections. On April 27, the state 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. Meanwhile, reviving its plan to procure vaccines for Mumbai independently, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has decided to issue a global tender for purchase of about 50 lakh doses to ramp up Mumbai’s immunization drive. The BMC is in the process of finalizing the rules of the global tenders to be floated this week, officials said.

Andhra Pradesh

Officials said 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.

“We are exploring the option of buying the vaccine from any foreign manufacturer since there is a short supply of Covishield and Covaxin,” the state’s Principal Secretary (Health) Anil Kumar Singhal said.

With PTI inputs

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