No vaccination for 18-plus category in Bihar from May 1
The next phase of vaccination for those above 18 years of age will not begin in Bihar from May 1, a top health official said, citing inability of Serum Institute of India (SII) in supplying the vaccines in bulk.
Manoj Kumar, executive director of Bihar State Health Society said on Thursday that Serum Institute of India had refused to supply one crore vials of the vaccine demanded by the Bihar government. Instead, the Institute wanted the state government to place its monthly requirement.
According to Kumar, the SII has informed the central government that it was difficult to meet the demand as several states had placed their orders simultaneously. “The central government has, therefore, decided to make a population-based quota for vaccine supply for states. As a result, the vaccination would not start from May 1. However, the registration for the vaccination will continue,” he said.
The state government had earlier decided to start registration for vaccinating people above 18 years of age. Nearly 5.47 crore people in this category are to be vaccinated free of cost at government hospitals.
Meanwhile, BJP MP and former deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi has suggested that the Bihar government keep its options open for importing foreign-made vaccines. “The SII, following an appeal from prime minister Narendra Modi, has reduced the price of Covishield from ₹400 to ₹300, which will reduce pressure on state governments. The Bihar government, given the necessity to vaccinate those aged 18 and above, should keep its options open for a global tender of foreign-made vaccines as well. The Centre has already given consent for Russia-made Sputnik and five other foreign vaccines,” he said.