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States ease conditions in global tender for COVID vaccines, extends deadline

The Yogi government in Uttar Pradesh is all set to accelerate its vaccination drive with greater availability of Covid vaccines in the state soon. Health Department has halved the global tender earnest money deposit amount and also announced major relaxations in its terms and conditions in order to widen the scope of suppliers joining to increase the supply of vaccines in UP, which is already number one in the country in terms of vaccination doses to its citizen.

The decision has been taken to increase the pace of vaccination in UP. It will allow several global vaccine companies, including Pfizer and Moderna among others, to participate and provide vaccines for UP, increasing the availability of vaccines in the state.

The decision of the Yogi government will also give more options to the people to choose their preferred vaccine. It is worth mentioning here that the Yogi government issued a global tender to purchase Covid-19 vaccines on May 7 in order to enhance its availability in the state and carry out the vaccination drive on a war footing.

The state government had earlier fixed the Earnest money amount for the global tender at Rs 16 crore. Terms and conditions were also fixed regarding the temperature and storage of the vaccine in the tender.

A pre-bid meeting with representatives of the vaccine manufacturers to discuss the tender process was held on May 12. Representatives of Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, Serum Institute, Bharat Biotech attended the meeting.

After discussions with representatives of the companies, the government announced many relaxations in the terms and conditions of the global tender.

The government plans to involve more companies in the tender in order to increase the supply of vaccines in the state, speed up vaccination and provide more vaccine options to the people.

The government has reduced the tender amount of global tender from Rs 16 crore to Rs 8 crore. The condition of vaccine storage at 2 to 8 degree Celsius temperature has also been relaxed. Thus, manufacturers of vaccines that can be stored at temperatures ranging from -20 to -80 degrees Celsius will also be able to participate in the tender.

This has cleared the way for companies such as Pfizer and Moderna to join the tender. Companies will have to safely transport Covid-19 vaccines to the government warehouse. Companies will also have to make arrangements for the storage of vaccines at -20 to -80 degrees Celsius.

In a similar move, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Tuesday extended the deadline for its global tender for vaccine supply to Mumbai by a week, to May 25. The decision came in the wake of the civic body failing to get any response from Covid-19 vaccine manufacturers as the deadline of May 18 ended.  The BMC has planned to procure 10 million vaccine doses from the international market in order to speed up the vaccination drive in city. For this, it floated global expression of interest on May 12 and the last date of bidding was May 18.

A BMC official confirmed on Tuesday, “We have extended the last date of participation by another week as we would like to give more time to the market to respond.”

P Velrasu, additional municipal commissioner of the BMC, had told HT a day ago, “We have not got any response yet, and we are likely to extend the last date for bidding by one more week. We expect the market to respond once we give the extension.”

The Centre’s nod a must for companies from neighbouring countries including China. Companies from neighboring countries, including China, will have to get the approval of the Central government to join the global tender for the Covid-19 vaccine.

It is noteworthy that on July 23, 2020, the Ministry of Finance had made the rules for the supply of Covid vaccines from neighboring countries. Companies would be required to register with the prescribed authority of the Central government for vaccine supply. MB Bureau