India Fights Back: Global Tenders for Covid-19 Vaccines
On 1 May, an additional 600 million Indians became eligible to receive inoculations against Covid-19. India’s two dominant vaccine manufacturers—the Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech—who produce Covishield and Covaxin, respectively, have had to rapidly increase their production capacities to meet the demands of India’s vaccination drive. However, enough vaccines may not be immediately available from these manufacturers. Recognising that a rampant vaccination campaign is foremost in combatting India’s caseload during this second wave of the pandemic, Indian states are now overcoming the supply gap by issuing global tenders for Covid-19 vaccines. Outreach by these states may soon become crucial in overcoming a devastating third wave of the pandemic in India.
These are the seven Indian states that have so far issued global tenders.
- Andhra Pradesh – The state Principal Secretary (Health) Anil Kumar Singhal has stated that global tenders for procuring Covid-19 vaccines from global manufacturers will be floated shortly to meet the state’s vaccination drive demands.
- Delhi – The national capital and the national capital region have witnessed caseload positivity rates of over 20 per cent during much of this second wave. Vaccinating the people of Delhi is, therefore, a priority for the state government which has floated a global tender for vaccines.
- Karnataka - CN Ashwath Narayan, the deputy chief minister and state Covid-19 task force head, stated that Karnataka will procure two crore vaccines through a global tender to meet the demand of the state’s vaccination drive. In addition to this, Karnataka has already placed an order of two crore Covishield vaccines and one crore Covaxin doses.
- Maharashtra – The state government floated a global tender to procure 10 lakh Remdesivir vials, 40,000 oxygen concentrators and 25,000 metric tonnes of oxygen on 27 April. Meanwhile the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is also expanding its immunization drive by issuing a global tender for 50 lakh vaccines. In addition to the Indian companies, foreign manufacturers may also apply. The rules for the procurement, which will cost the corporation close to INR 400 crore, will be finalised within this week. Once approved, vaccinations are expected to be delivered within 3-4 weeks.
- Odisha – During a state cabinet meeting, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik decided that Odisha will float a global e-tender for vaccines through the Odisha State Medical Corporation (OSMC). The state government also constituted a 10-member technical committee and nine-member managerial committee to supervise the procurement of Covid-19 vaccines through the global tender.
- Telangana – Just as the state imposed a 10-day lockdown to battle the rising cases, the state government has issued a global tender for vaccines.
- Uttar Pradesh – Officials of the Uttar Pradesh Medical Supply Corporation Limited (UPMSCL) have stated that the northern state has float global e-tenders for 4 crore (40 million) Covid-19 vaccines to be procured from licensed manufacturers. The state may directly secure a supply of international vaccines like Russia made Sputnik V or those made by American companies Moderna and Johnson & Johnson.
The centre’s easing of vaccination policies has opened doors for international vaccine manufacturers to participate in India’s inoculation drive. Given India’s large population, these additional vaccines are a welcome tool in the country’s battle against the pandemic.
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