A healthcare worker fills a syringe with a dose of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine. (Bloomberg)
A healthcare worker fills a syringe with a dose of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine. (Bloomberg)

Mumbai civic body floats global tender for vaccines, restricts China

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Wednesday floated an expression of interest (EOI) to procure 10 million vaccine doses from vaccine manufacturers abroad
By Mehul R Thakkar, Mumbai
PUBLISHED ON MAY 13, 2021 12:18 AM IST

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Wednesday floated an expression of interest (EOI) to procure 10 million vaccine doses from vaccine manufacturers abroad. The decision was taken by the BMC on Monday to speed up the vaccination process.

According to BMC, all clearances (from the Centre) regarding Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses will have to be taken by the manufacturers themselves. However, it has barred Chinese vaccine manufacturers from participating in the procurement process by restricting the participation of countries sharing borders with India.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, the BMC said, “To supply one crore (10 million) doses of Covid prevention vaccine, BMC has published a Global Expression of Interest (EoI) inviting various companies to submit proposals. This notice has been published today (May 12, 2021) and according to this, EoI are to be submitted to the BMC by 1pm on May 18, 2021. The proposals will be unveiled on the same day, May 18, 2021, at 3pm. If the BMC issues a work order, the entire vaccine will have to be supplied to the concerned companies within three weeks.”

This comes two days after chief minister Uddhav Thackeray on Monday gave a nod for the BMC to float a global tender. Mumbai suburbs guardian minister Aaditya Thackeray on Monday had tweeted, “Looking at the need for adequate vaccines to ensure that vaccination is swift & efficient, after discussing the issue with CM Uddhav Thackeray ji, as guardian minister of Mumbai, we have asked BMC to explore possibilities of global procurement of vaccines.”

Municipal commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal said, “BMC has floated global bid to procure one crore Covid vaccines at the earliest. BMC has resolved to make every possible effort in future and also to acquire sufficient quantity of Covid vaccines to vaccinate all eligible citizens of Mumbai on a war-footing in the next 60-90 days.”

P Velrasu, additional municipal commissioner of the BMC said, “We have floated just the expression of interest, and have put a condition that all certification and approvals vaccine manufacturers will need, they will have to get it from the government of India, drug controller. The EoI, for now, is to procure ten million doses, and regarding indemnity issues, we have mentioned that the best international practice will be followed. Ultimately, we all will be bound by conditions of the Central government.”

Velrasu also confirmed that BMC has also put a condition that applicants should not belong to countries sharing borders with India, which will restrict the entry of Chinese vaccine manufacturers.

Further, considering several vaccines from the western countries require cold storage mandating temperature in minus, the BMC has made it mandatory for manufacturers to arrange for such a facility. The BMC in the EOI document has stated, “BMC has cold storage facilities consisting of walk-in cooler (WIC) 2 in no. with 40 cum capacity each. The temperature of WIC is+20 to +80C. If the covid vaccine requires storage and temperature requirements other than that available with the B, C, the applicant will have to provide the required storage facility for the Covid Vaccine, till the vaccination points. Currently, MCGM has 20 hospitals and 240 vaccination centres.”

The document further adds, “The applicant should have their own cold chain transporting system from their manufacturing unit or should have a valid contract with a transporting agent having facilities to transport Covid Vaccines under cold chain norms to the storage facility / any of the hospitals/ vaccination centres within BMC jurisdiction.”

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