No from vaccine makers, states urge Centre to procure for all

Pfizer Says Talks Underway With Centre On Bringing Covid Vaccine To India

Pfizer and BioNTech have set a target to deliver over 2.5 billion vaccine doses in 2021

The hopes of the Telangana state government to procure Covid-19 vaccines through global tenders took a hit after the manufacturers informed a few states such as Delhi and Punjab that they would not supply vaccines directly to the states but would deal with the Centre.

Based on various representations given by states and inputs received by ministry for the vaccination of 18-44 years age group, the Union government has now chose to provide facility of on-site registration/facilitated cohort registration on CoWIN digital platform for 18-44 years age group considering that in case of sessions exclusively organised with online slots, towards the end of the day, some doses may still be left unutilised in case the online appointee beneficiaries do not turn up on day of vaccination.

"We have spoken to Pfizer and Moderna for vaccines, and both the manufacturers have refused to sell directly to us".

Kejriwal told the local media that the vaccine makers have said that "they will deal with the central government". Punjab government too on Sunday announced that Moderna turned down their request for vaccines saying it did not supply directly to states.

Kejriwal added: "We need vaccines".

The companies approached include Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and the makers of Sputnik.

India now has three vaccines - Covishield (developed by AstraZeneca-Oxford University), Covaxin (developed by Bharat Biotech) and Sputnik V. A national newspaper reported that 16 companies here can produce Covaxin. "However, Bharat Biotech has struck a deal with only two companies". But only around 4 percent of the country's population of 126 million has received at least one vaccine dose. There are less than 18,000 cases in the USA.

Arvind Kejriwal, State Chief of India's National Capital, said on Monday that USA pharmaceutical firms - Pfizer and Moderna - have refused to sell their coronavirus vaccines directly to Delhi. The move had prompted many states to float global tenders to procure vaccines from worldwide firms. So, we reached out to foreign manufacturers and they have said they will only give to the Centre.

"The Centre is exclusively responsible for vaccine shortage in the country". It has failed to manage the situation.

Using a case definition from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which requires only 1 COVID-19 symptom, the vaccine was found to be 93% effective, suggesting the vaccine may be protective against cases with milder symptoms, the company said.

Supply of the rest, it effectively said, would be the problem of individual states, triggering a potential bidding war and stand-off over vaccines, much like with oxygen over the past weeks.

The two states are among many across the country trying to procure vaccines after the Centre revised its policy on April 19 to allow the states to inoculate all adults 18 years or older, increasing the number of the beneficiaries without provisions for extra vaccine supplies.

Since the COVID-19 vaccine rollouts started late previous year, the shots have brought in billions for the leading companies.

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