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Odisha demands vaccine procurement at national level

Vaccine vial. Stock photo: By Ali Raza/Pixabay

Bhubaneswar, June 1 (MNN) Flagging shortage of coronavirus vaccines, the Odisha government on Tuesday conveyed to the Indian government that there was ‘limited response’ in pre-bid stage to its global tender, and sought vaccine purchase at the national level.

Odisha Health Minister Naba Kisore Das said in his letter to Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan that the Serum Institute of Indian and Bharat Biotech – makers of Covishield and Covaxin in India — have not even participated in the pre-bid meeting.

“It is understood that in their present capacity, they won’t be able to provide coronavirus vaccines in scale to different states and there is an urgent need to scale up their capacities,” Das said.

The state Minister pointed out that keeping in view the experience of some other states, which did not receive any bids, and based on market conditions and short supply of vaccines, Odisha had floated a ‘flexible’ global tender after Cabinet approval.

It included liberal conditions with respect to performance, security, penalties. advance payments etc.

“We have also extended the datelines and are pursuing the matter with the potential bidders.

“Global vaccine manufacturers Pfizer and Moderna are concerned about indemnity-related Issues and are willing to deal only with federal governments only. It would be faster and economical if the vaccines are procured at the national level rather than individual states.”

Das said that Odisha was ready to pay for the vaccines, adding that the states should be allowed to design and decide on the distribution of vaccines on the basis of local factors.

He said that Odisha was among the states with lowest vaccine wastage and had vaccinated 61,06,415 persons with at least one dose.

The eastern state was vaccinating more than two lakh persons per day in early April but was now able to vaccinate only 60,000 – 70,000 persons per day as its capacity of three lakh vaccinations daily due to supply constraints.

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