With Covid-19 vaccines in short supply across the country, several State governments are reaching out directly to the companies through global tenders to fast-track the vaccination programme.

This comes even as the Centre’s liberalised vaccine policy, presently in the Supreme Court, has been criticised sharply by many Chief Ministers for its differential pricing for the Centre and the States. Many are calling for its review.

But even as the case is underway, at least four States appear have made clear their intent to source from global companies, and they include Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, Telengana and Maharashtra.

And while the modalities have not been outlined, these supplies could help bridge the supply gaps that exist, with just two producers — Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech — making the two vaccines that have been rolled out. Russia’s Sputnik V is on the verge of being made available in India through its local partners.


Global tender

Against this backdrop, Uttar Pradesh said it would put out a global tender to procure four crore vaccine doses. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had reportedly stated that domestic suppliers Serum Institute and Bharat Biotech had been given orders of 50 lakh jabs each of their Covishield and Covaxin vaccines, respectively. Another 4-5 crore vaccine doses are to be sourced using an international tender.

On Monday, the Odisha government, too, announced its intention to source vaccines using global tenders. Chief Secretary SC Mohapatra said the State government will form a technical committee to look into the modalities of procuring the vaccines made by top players across the world.

On Tuesday, the Telangana government stated that it will float a global tender to procure vaccines to meet its requirements.

Exploring avenues

Maharashtra has been indicating the same, with its Environment Minister Aaditya Thackeray saying that the State was exploring other avenues to secure vaccines from global suppliers. “While we explore the possibility of globally procuring vaccines and also increasing vaccination centres to have 1 in every municipal ward, the roadmap for administering the second shot for every age group will be published soon,” he tweeted on Tuesday.

Local vaccine-makers have also been approached by most States and Union Territories for the jabs at the prices they have mentioned, an industry source said.

(With inputs from KV Kurmanath)