Bhubaneswar: Odisha’s hopes of speeding up the COVID-19 vaccination drive by inviting global tenders is facing hurdles with big names in the vaccine manufacture business not participating in the process.
In a letter to Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Odisha Health Minister Naba Kisore Das urged the Centre to act immediately on statutory clearances for global vaccine manufacturers that are interested for central procurement and not participating in bids due to indemnity related issues.
“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 statutory clearances for supplying to the states,” he stated in his letter.
In the global flexible tender floated by Odisha, even Serum Institute of India (SII) and Bharat Biotech did not participate which was observed during the pre-bid meeting, the Minister stated in the letter.
“Since the above are in the domain of the Centre, it might be faster and economical if the procurement of global vaccines are made at the country-level rather than by the individual states,” he mentioned.
Das also informed about how the vaccine supply constraint has forced the state government to vaccinate only 60,000 -70,000 people per day even though it has the capacity to vaccinate at 3 lakh people per day. Odisha is also among the states with lowest vaccine wastage, he added.
Moreover, of the direct orders for vaccines placed by the state for 18-45 age group, the full quantity have not been received.
“Odisha placed an order of 220 lakh doses of Covishield with Serum Institute of India (SII) and 10.34 lakh doses of Covaxin with Bharat Biotech. State received only 5,78,480 doses of Covishield and 1,65,490 doses of Covaxin, so far,” the Minister mentioned.