Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has reached out to his counterparts in other states and proposed that they should collectively urge the Union government to “take charge and responsibility of the vaccination drive” and said that it's time for all of them to speak in a single voice.“It is my request that as Chief Ministers, we speak in a single voice and urge the Government of India to take charge and responsibility of the vaccination drive, the way it was happening in the early part of the year. The decision of giving the states a larger say in the vaccination procurement was something that was unwarranted," Jagan wrote in the letter.
He further said that the need of the hour was to increase vaccine availability through any source. "A centralised and coordinated vaccination drive, supported by the state, would lead to wonderful results for the people of India. The current vaccination drive is plagued by multiple coordination issues. Some states feel they are not getting enough and global tenders floated are not getting the desired responses," the Chief Minister pointed out. Jagan said that Andhra had gone for a global tender to procure vaccines directly. "But to my dismay, there were no quotations. The situation is now being transformed into a ‘States Vs Union’ issue," he added.
Any delay in vaccinating people would come at a heavy price, he warned, as "our sharpest weapon against coronavirus is the vaccine". The AP government had floated a global tender on May 13 for procurement of COVID-19 vaccine from foreign producers, sufficient to inoculate one crore persons. When the bid submission deadline ended on Thursday, not one bid was filed.
"The situation is similar in all the states. Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Odisha got no bids. Karnataka canceled the global tender due to a lack of bids. UP extended the time till June 10," Principal Secretary (Health) Anil Kumar Singhal said. "When we conducted the pre-bid meeting on May 20, representatives from three companies turned up, giving us some hope. But eventually not one filed the bid," he noted. The state has now decided to extend the time by two weeks to try its luck.