Maharashtra may look for vaccines in global market: Report

News24

LAST UPDATED: April 22, 2021, 8:16 p.m.

Mumbai: Amid shortages and uncertainties over availability and delivery of Covid-19 vaccines, the Maharashtra government plans to form a committee to scout for vaccines from the international markets, said Minority Affairs Minister Nawab Malik here on Thursday.

“We have discussed in the state cabinet a proposal to this effect and appointed a committee to scout for vaccines wherever available, nationally or internationally. However, a final decision on the same is pending,” Malik told media persons in Parbhani.

The state is also in touch with the top honchos of Bharat Biotech which is producing Covaxin, even as the state girdles for the next phase of vaccination for all people aged above 18 from May 1.

Health Minister Rajesh Tope said that the Serum Institute of India (SII), Pune has conveyed to the state government that it would not be able to deliver its consignments directly till May 25 as it has prior commitment with the Centre.

The government will also make efforts to import vaccines from Sputnik V, Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna and Tope said there would be no dearth of funds if the doses are available.

However, late on Thursday, the government clarified that SII has not contracted all its production to the Centre and states were at liberty to procure Covid vaccines from the manufacturers under the Liberalised Pricing and Accelerated National Covid-19 Vaccination Strategy.

Under the new policy, the manufacturers would supply 50 per cent of their production to the Centre and the rest to states and ‘other than Government of India channel’ every month.

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Faced with a huge task of procuring vaccines for the next phase, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday held an online conference with SII CEO Adar Poonawalla to discuss the issues.

Moreover, the SII move to supply the Covishield vaccines at Rs 400 for the states and Rs 600 to private hospitals, compared with the Rs 150 to the Centre, has not gone down well with the Maha Vikas Aghadi government.

Against the current shortages, the state expects massive rush at vaccination centres in the second phase when people above 18 years will also be given vaccines.

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