Tamil Nadu to float global tender to procure COVID vaccines at lowest prices: CM Stalin

Tamil Nadu to float global tender to procure COVID vaccines at lowest prices: CM Stalin
The Tamil Nadu government has decided to float global tenders to procure COVID-19 vaccines for the state’s population aged 18-44 years. A meeting chaired by Chief Minister MK Stalin decided to invite global tenders to address the vaccine shortage. The Union government in its latest policy has put the onus of procuring vaccines for those below 45 years, on state governments. However, both SII and Bharat Biotech have not been able to produce enough vaccines to supply a significant number to any state. “The Union government is providing vaccines for those above 45 years of age. However, the Union government has said that for those in the 18-44 age group, it is the state governments that have to procure the vaccines and give them to the people. Accordingly, about 13 lakh doses of vaccine have been set aside for Tamil Nadu. This number is not enough to vaccinate those in the 18-44 age group, therefore Tamil Nadu government has decided to import vaccines through global tenders. This government will expedite the process for the global tendering and vaccination of everyone in the 18-44 age group,” a circular by the state government said. Further, in a tweet accompanying the circular, the DMK said, “To stop the corona pandemic, Chief Minister Stalin has ordered a direct global tendering to procure vaccines at the lowest price.” The circular also said that the state government is requesting the Union government to give more oxygen to Tamil Nadu. According to Health Ministry data, as of Tuesday, Tamil Nadu had administered 48,72,906 first doses of the vaccine, which is 6.75 percent of the total population, and 17,15,175 second doses, which makes up only 2.37 per cent of its population. The Union government has supplied over 180 million vaccine doses in all across all states and Union Territories, to vaccinate those above 45 years of age. According to official data put out by the Union government, 171 million vaccine doses have now been used up and there is an availability of nine million vaccine doses currently. However, this number is not enough, and unless it is not increased manifold, everyone in India cannot get vaccinated at least by the end of 2021. Several states including Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Delhi and Odisha have chosen to float global tenders to procure COVID-19 vaccine doses as the pandemic wreaked havoc in the second wave. The Karnataka government will procure two crore COVID-19 vaccine doses through a global tender in the wake of a shortage. On May 11, a day before the tender was floated, the Karnataka High Court observed that “the situation regarding availability of vaccines in the state of Karnataka is very disturbing.”  The vaccines procured with the global tender will be used to inoculate the state’s population between the ages of 18-44.

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