Covid: Odisha plea to govt to buy foreign vaccines
The Odisha government has asked the Centre to buy Covid-19 vaccines from foreign manufacturers and provide them to states after getting a poor response to its global tender for their procurement.
In a letter to Union health minister Harsh Vardhan on Tuesday, state health and family welfare minister Naba Kisore Das said: “Odisha floated a global tender for procurement of vaccines. However, there has been limited response to the tender as observed during the pre-bid stage. Serum Institute of India (which manufactures Covishield) and Bharat Biotech (which produces (Covaxin) have not participated in the pre-bid meeting. It is understood that at their present capacity they won’t be able to provide vaccines on a large scale to states and there is an urgent need to scale up their capacities.”
“It might be faster and economical if the procurement of global vaccines is made at the country-level rather than by individual states. Our chief minister Naveen Patnaik is committed to provide vaccines free of cost to our people and the state will bear the necessary cost of the vaccines.”
Pointing out that other states which floated tenders have also received poor response from vaccine manufacturers, Das said: “It seems that the global vaccine manufacturers like Pfizer and Moderna are concerned about indemnity related issues, among others. Secondly, they are willing to deal with federal-level central procurement only, at this stage. Global vaccine manufacturers will be requiring the central government’s statutory clearances for supplying to the states.”
However, the minister said: “States may be given the flexibility to design and decide on distribution of vaccines taking local factors into consideration (for example in many hilly terrains, Internet connectivity is poor and we can’t make online registration mandatory in those districts).”
Odisha has informed the Centre that it would give priority for vaccination of Plus Two students and their family members in the state.