Covid vaccine: Tamil Nadu’s global tender fails to attract bidders

Our Bureau Chennai | Updated on June 06, 2021

File photo   -  REUTERS

Will now have to urge Centre to provide more vaccines

Tamil Nadu’s global tender, for supply of 3.5 crore Covid-19 vaccines, has failed to attract any bidder. The State now needs to chart a new plan on how to vaccinate 3.6 crore in the 18-44 age group.

June 5 was the last date for the tender.

The mute response was expected as was the case with other states, said a senior government official.

When asked if the Government would extend the tender, he said everything needs to be assessed.

If the State government does not extend the tender, the only option in the short term is to urge the Centre to provide more vaccines as the pace of vaccination has been increasing in the last few days. On Saturday evening, 96,74,470 persons were vaccinated.

In the long term, the State government has set the ball rolling in trying to woo private players like Bharat BioTech to set up a vaccine manufacturing plant in Tamil Nadu. The Hyderabad-based company manufactures Covaxin.

It is also trying to convince the Centre to begin manufacturing the vaccine immediately at the Integrated Vaccine Complex in Chengelpet. This is operated by HLL Bio-Tech Ltd. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin in a letter to Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan also emphasised the urgency in the matter.

"I wish to highlight to you the urgency of the moment, given the need for immediate commencement of production. Irrespective of whether it is the Union government or the State government, which is to find the partner to operationalise the plant, the need of the hour is to ensure that there is absolutely no delay in the process,” Stalin said in the letter to Vardhan.

Tamil Nadu Medical Services had tendered for 3.5 crore doses of Covid-19 vaccines. Tamil Nadu government's global tender stipulates that under option A, the bidder’s vaccine should be approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and licensed for use in India by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) on the day of bidding.

Under option B, the vaccines to be purchased must be approved by WHO but not approved by DCGI on the day of bidding. Option B would be purchased subject to issue of license/approval by DCGI, the tender documents said.

Published on June 06, 2021

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