Delhi joins five other states set to float global tender for procuring COVID vaccine
Maharashtra, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Odisha have already decided to float global tender for procuring the COVID-19 vaccine
The Delhi government will float a global tender for procuring coronavirus vaccines, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said on Tuesday, as the city government grapples with a shortage of doses. Maharashtra, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Odisha have already decided to float global tender.
Addressing a press conference, Delhi Deputy CM Manish Sisodia alleged that the BJP-ruled Centre was "forcing" state governments to invite global tenders for vaccine procurement.
The Central government wants the states to compete and fight with each other in the international market for vaccines, Sisodia alleged.
Sisodia also demanded the Centre to launch a nationwide COVID vaccination drive on the line of pulse polio campaign.
Earlier in the day, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi over vaccine shortage, saying the Centre should share the vaccine formula of the two manufacturers with other capable pharmaceutical companies to scale up production in the country.
AAP leader Atishi had also said Monday the Delhi government will have to close vaccination centres where Covaxin is being administered to beneficiaries in the 18-44 age group after Tuesday evening if its stocks are not replenished.
Facing an acute shortage of COVID-19 vaccines, the Odisha government also decided on Monday to float a global tender for procuring the vaccine to inoculate the states entire population, Chief Secretary S C Mohapatra said.
The decision was made at a Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.
Till May 9, as many as 61,52,215 vaccine doses have been administered to the people of the state, a senior health department official said.
However, the inoculation programme was affected due to a shortage of vaccines supplied by the central government.
The state has several times raised the issue at the national level, but the problem continued to hamper the vaccination process, the official said.
"It is felt that complete vaccination is the best way to protect precious lives of the people. Therefore, the Cabinet allowed the state government to go for global tender and get vaccines at the earliest," Mohapatra said.
With PTI inputs