Kerala CM Vijayan writes to PM Modi, says Centre should procure Covid-19 vaccines via global tender
As some vaccine makers refuse to deal with state governments regarding the supply of Covid-19 vaccines, Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying that the central government should procure the supply. The chief minister also said that vaccines procured should be distributed free of cost to the states.
In the letter, Vijayan said that universal vaccination drive is the only way to achieve herd immunity against the coronavirus disease in the long run. He also said that the scarce supply of vaccines in relation to the vast demand is the biggest hurdle for achieving universal vaccination.
Vijayan also said that the vaccine prices would increase if states decide to procure individually via global tenders. “Based on the circumstances narrated above, I request that the Union Government may kindly take the lead in assessing the vaccine demand of each State and float a global tender taking into account the cumulative need. This will help in reducing the prices. We also reiterate the request that vaccines may be provided free to all states as it should be treated as a public good from which none should be excluded,” he wrote in his letter.
Earlier on Monday, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said that US Covid-19 vaccine makers Pfizer and Moderna have both refused to sell vaccine shots to the Delhi government. “We have spoken to Pfizer and Moderna for vaccines, and both the manufacturers have refused to sell directly to us. They have said they will deal with the Central government. We appeal to the Centre to import vaccines and distribute to the states,” Kejriwal said.
The Punjab government has also said that the two vaccine manufacturers have refused to sell directly to the state government. On Sunday, state nodal officer for Covid-19 vaccination Vikas Garg said that Moderna has refused to deal with the state government and on Monday, Garg said that Pfizer too has refused for supplies, news agency PTI reported.
In a statement on Monday, Pfizer said that “Pfizer will supply Covid-19 vaccine only to central government and supra-national organisations for deployment in national immunization programs. Allocation of doses and implementation plan within a country is a decision for local governments based on relevant health authority guidance,” news agency ANI reported. The US pharmaceutical giant also said that talks with the centre are going on and are hopeful of bringing the vaccine to India.
Meanwhile, Vijayan also said that 17,821 new Covid-19 cases and 196 deaths were reported in Kerala in the last 24 hours. The chief minister on May 22 said that the triple lockdown in Malappuram district would continue while it would be lifted in other districts where it was previously implemented.