Tamil Nadu had 1.52 lakh doses of vaccines on June 5 and will have to pause the vaccination drive till fresh stock arrives

A representative image of a man getting vaccinated
news COVID-19 Sunday, June 06, 2021 - 18:19

Tamil Nadu government’s deadline to apply for the global tender it had floated, to procure vaccines for the state, ended on June 5 and not a single company has submitted an application. On May 12, CM MK Stalin had announced that the state will float a global tender to procure vaccines for people between the age groups of 18 to 44.

Tamil Nadu Medical Services had issued a tender for 3.5 crore doses of COVID-19 vaccines. The state has 3.65 crore people who fall within the age group of 18 to 44. Tamil Nadu had 1.52 lakh doses of vaccines on Saturday and will have to pause the vaccination drive, while the state waits for a fresh batch of vaccines. Global tenders called by several other states including Haryana, Telangana and Kerala too had no takers.

Tamil Nadu’s tender allowed for two options for tender submission–first was companies whose vaccines are approved both by the WHO and the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI). Second was companies whose vaccines are approved by WHO but not yet by DCGI at the time of tender submission. However, before the government buys the vaccines, the same should be cleared by DCGI. Most other states had insisted on both approvals at the time of bidding and despite the relaxation, Tamil Nadu’s tender had no bidders. The companies that would win the bid had to submit vaccines within 180 days.

Read: India's vaccination policy goes against rights of poor and marginalised: SC shows how

With no response from global vaccine manufacturers, Tamil Nadu will now have to either extend the deadline for bidding or procure vaccines from Indian manufacturers, Bharat Biotech and Serum Institute of India or ask the Union government to supply more vaccines to the state from their quota. A decision on what course of action the state will take is yet to be taken. 

Meanwhile, a few vaccine manufacturers like Moderna have said that, as part of their policy, they do not deal with either state governments or private parties and will deal only with the Government of India.

On June 1, CM Stalin had written to Union Minister for Health Harsh Vardhan urging him to prioritise Tamil Nadu and ‘frontload’ June’s supply as the state’s stock was almost exhausted.

Read: Union govt used Rs 4489 crore out of Rs 35000 crore vaccine package: RTI response

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