Bhubaneswar: In view of the formalities that need to be completed for procurement of vaccines from global manufacturers, State Government on Tuesday asked the Centre to manage the process at the country-level rather than by individual States.
While global vaccine manufacturers will be requiring statutory clearances from Union Government and as it is in the domain of Center, it might be faster and economical if the procurement of global vaccines are made at the country level rather than by individual states, said State Health & family Welfare Minister Nabakishore Das in a letter to Union Health & Family Welfare Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan.
However, Mr.Das said that the states may be given 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 Administration can’t make online registration mandatory in those districts.
And the State would like to do priority vaccination for Plus 2 students and their families and so on, said Das.
He said that looking at the supply problem in direct purchase; State Government has floated a global tender for procurement of vaccines.
“However, there has been limited response to the tender as observed during pre-bid meeting,” he added.
Mr.Das in his letter said that Serum Institute of India (SII) and Bharat Biotech have not participated in pre-bid meeting.
“It is understood and keeping in view the experience of some states which did not receive any bids and based on the market conditions and short supply of vaccines, Odisha has floated a flexible global tender with approval of the State cabinet, which includes liberal conditions with respect to performance security, penalties advance payments and State has extended dateline and pursuing with potential bidders,” Das wrote.
He pointed out that Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is committed to providing vaccines free of cost to the people and the state will bear the necessary cost of vaccines.
Mr.Das said, “From the beginning Odisha has been one of the most active states in vaccinating the people. States had meticulously planned Vaccination Program and are among the states with lowest vaccine wastage.”
Odisha has vaccinated more than 61 Lakh people with at least one dose. He informed that State was vaccinating at a rate of more than 2 Lakh per day in early April, the State Health Minister said and added, “However due to the vaccine supply constraints, currently the State is able to vaccinate 60,000-70,000 people per day even though State has the capacity to vaccinate 3 Lakh people in a day.”
After the Union Government allowed the states to procure vaccines directly from the permitted vaccine manufacturers for the 18-45 years age group, Odisha immidately placed an order to 220 Lakh doses of Covishield with SII and 10.34 Lakh doses of Covaxin with Bharat Biotech, Das said.
However, so far they have only supplied 5,78,480 doses of Covishield and 1,65,490 doses of Covaxin respectively which is quite inadequate in view of the huge demand for vaccines across the State, pointed out the State Health Minister.
“As vaccination has been a game changer in many countries in saving both lives and economy, completing vaccination on a war footing basis before onset of Third Wave is needed,” he said while urging the Center for an early action in this regard.