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Kerala govt agency cancels procurement orders for Covid vaccines

K.C.Gopakumar Kochi | Updated on June 08, 2021

The cancellation was due to firms expressing their inability to supply, says KMSCL, to the high court.

The Kerala Medical Services Corporation Limited (KMSCL), procurement agency of the State government, informed the Kerala High Court on Tuesday that it had cancelled the orders for buying one crore doses of Covid vaccines placed with the two manufacturing companies, as they expressed its inability to supply the vaccines.

The submission was made by M. Ajay, counsel for the Corporation when a public interest writ petitions challenging the Centre's Liberalised Pricing and Accelerated National Covid-19 Vaccination Strategy and other cases, including the one seeking to open more vaccination centres, came up for hearing.

The counsel submitted that the manufacturers had informed the corporation that they could only supply the doses of vaccines earmarked by the Centre for state governments out of the 50 per cent non-governmental quota. The Central government allocated a certain number of vaccines under this quota to supply to state governments. Therefore, the manufacturer of Covishield told the Corporation it could not deliver the doses of vaccine in terms of the order placed by the Corporation.

As a result, all the procurement orders had been cancelled. However, the Corporation had on April 29 placed the orders with the manufacturers for supply of 70 lakh doses of the Covisheild vaccines and 30 lakh Covaxine doses.

The Central government submitted that there had been a major shift in the Centre's vaccine policy, and persons in the age group of 18-44 would be vaccinated free of cost. In addition, the private hospital and entities could buy vaccines under 25 per cent earmarked for the private sector. The policy would be rolled out from June 21.

The court directed the Corporation to file a statement on difficulties faced by the Corporation in procuring the vaccines. The court also asked the Centre to file a statement regarding the Centre's new policy on procurement and administration of vaccines.

The court posted the petition for further hearing on June 10.

Published on June 08, 2021

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