abroad, eases bidding norms (Eds: Updating with fresh inputs) Bhubaneswar, Jun 1 (PTI) Apparently unable to find suitable bidders for its global tenders to procure COVID-19 vaccines from leading manufacturers, the Odisha government on Tuesday sought the Centre's statutory clearance for the purpose as demanded by the companies.
The state also amended certain clauses in the document to give more chances to global vaccine manufacturers to participate in the global tender, the deadline of which has been extended from May 28 to June 4.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said that Odisha has requested Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan for procuring COVID-19 vaccines for the state at the country-level, as global vaccine manufacturers have asked for resolution of indemnity issues with the central government only.
'No state government has been able to procure vaccines through global bids as there are technical issues and approvals which are required from the Government of India.
State government has sought the procurement at Union Government-Level, cost of which will be borne by the state,' Patnaik said in a statement.
It seems that global vaccine manufacturers like Pfizer and Moderna are concerned about indemnity related issues among others and they are willing to deal with federal-level central procurement only at this stage, Odisha Health Minister N K Das wrote to Vardhan.
Global vaccine manufacturers will require the central government's statutory clearance for supply to the states, Das said.
'Since the above are in the domain of the Union Government, it might be faster and economical if the procurement of global vaccines is made at the country-level rather than by individual states,' Das said in the letter.
There have been media reports that other states that have floated tenders are also facing non-response of vaccine manufacturers, he said.
'In view of the urgency of the issue we look forward to early action in this regard and assure our continued cooperation to defeat Covid-19,' the letter read.
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is committed to providing Covid-19 vaccines free of cost to people and the state will bear the cost, he said.
The state had floated a global tender on May 14 for procurement of vaccines but there has been a limited response to the tender as observed during the pre-bid stage.
Serum Institute of India (SII) and Bharat Biotech, makers of Covishield and Covaxin vaccines respectively, have not participated in the pre-bid meeting, Das said adding that it is understood that at their present capacity, they will not be able to provide vaccines in large scale to states and there is an urgent need to increase their capabilities.
Keeping in view the experience of some states which did not receive any bids and based on the market conditions and short supply of vaccines, Odisha had floated a flexible global tender with approval of the state Cabinet, which includes liberal conditions with respect to performance security, penalties, advance payment and others.
'We have also extended the dateline and are pursuing with the potential bidders,' the state minister said in his letter to Vardhan.
Meanwhile, the Odisha State Medical Corporation Ltd (OSMCL) on Tuesday issued a notice amending certain clauses in the tender document to give more chances to global vaccine manufacturers to participate in the tender, the deadline of which has been extended till June 4.
As per the amendments, vaccine manufacturers or authorised importers of Covid-19 vaccines approved by the authorities of the USA, the UK, the European Union, Japan or the World Health Organisation for emergency use are eligible to bid for the global tender.
Earlier, the tender document mentioned that the approval of the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) is mandatory for the bidders before participating in the bidding process. The OSMCL, however, made it clear that the purchase orders for vaccines will be placed to the qualified bidders subject to approval of DCGI.
In his letter to Vardhan, Das also pointed out that after the Centre allowed the states to procure vaccines directly from the permitted vaccine manufacturers for the 18- 45 years age group, we immediately placed an order of 2220 lakh doses of Covishield with SII and 1034 lakh doses of Covaxin with Bharat Biotech.
'However, they have so far supplied only 5,78,480 doses of Covishield and 1,65,490 doses of Covaxin respectively. This is quite inadequate in view of the huge demand for vaccinations across the state.' Odisha has so far vaccinated 61,06,415 people with at least one dose of vaccine, he said. PTI AAM NN NN