Delhi’s global tender for Covid-19 vaccine: Foreign players without authorised use can also apply

KR Srivats New Delhi | Updated on May 30, 2021

Winning bidders, however, need CDSCO permission or license before supply of vaccines

Foreign vaccine makers — those yet to get approval for use of their vaccines or licence in India from Indian authorities — can still put in their bids for the Delhi government’s recent global tender for procurement of one crore Covid-19 vaccines.

However, they would have to get the requisite permission or licence from the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) before supply, sources said. An importer or an authorised agent of the manufacturer of the vaccine can also apply, they said.

Indemnity clause

This would open the doors for large international vaccine-makers such as Pfizer and Moderna to participate in the bid if they are able to thrash out certain issues in their ongoing talks with the central government, sources said. One of the crucial issue that is yet to be sorted out is the impasse over Covid-19 vaccine indemnity demanded by Pfizer.

India has so far not given any manufacturer of Covid-19 vaccine any indemnity against the cost of compensation for any severe side effects. This legal protection from any claim is a condition that Pfizer has placed and obtained in many countries including the US and the UK where its Covid-19 vaccines are being administered.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday expressed hope that all international vaccine-makers would participate in the global tender floated by the Delhi government. Bids can be placed till June 7 evening, the Delhi government’s global tender document showed. Delhi, which has been hard hit by the second wave of Covid-19, has now decided to go in for gradual unlocking from Monday (it will first open up construction and manufacturing activity).

So far, vaccine doses have been administered to over 53 lakh beneficiaries in the national capital. Delhi government had urged the Centre to allocate about 80 lakh doses for the three months starting from May so that it could vaccinate its remaining eligible beneficiaries. However, the actual doses coming its way in May has been about 8 lakh, prompting it to go in for a global tender now.

Keeping China at bay

Meanwhile, Delhi has effectively kept out Chinese vaccines as the tender document stipulates that the applicant should not belong to countries sharing borders with India. It maybe recalled that a military stand-off had erupted between India and China at Ladakh on May 5 last year during which there were fatalities on both sides for the first time in 45 years.

Published on May 30, 2021

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