Rajasthan may move SC if Centre doesn't float global tender for Covid vaccines: Health Min

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Jaipur, May 27 (PTI) The Rajasthan government on Thursday said it may move the Supreme Court if the Centre does not float a global tender for coronavirus vaccines.

Health Minister Raghu Sharma said the state recently found that Covishield cost it more through the tender process than it does when the state procures it through the Centre.

He told reporters that the state had recently floated a tender for Covid vaccines because of the shortage in the state. Nine entities participated, “including a vendor for an Indian vaccine manufacturer”.

“The problem is that the Indian vaccine is available at a cheaper price through the central government, but it is costing more through a global tender,” a press statement said, quoting him.

Earlier during his media interaction, Sharma identified the vaccine as Covishield, as Oxford-AstraZeneca jab is known in the country where it is manufactured by the Serum Institute of India.

He said the Centre should float a global tender, get in touch with the vaccine manufacturers and make vaccine available to the states, for which Rajasthan government is willing to pay.

If the Centre does not float a global tender, Rajasthan could move the apex court “like other states”, he said.

Sharma said that the vaccination process has slowed down in the state as there is shortage of vaccine supply from manufacturers.

State government has given an order of Rs 59 crore for vaccine supply but it is very limited from manufacturing companies, the minister said.

He said the Centre had allocated 12.66 lakh dose quota to the state for the month of June whereas the state requires 7 crore doses for vaccination of 18 to 44 year age group. Sharma said that on an average 80,000 tests are being done daily by the state government and it intends to increase the number in the coming days.

The medical department has started preparations to tackle a possible third wave of coronavirus, he said.

On the instructions of Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, the number of ICU beds is being increased in all paediatric hospitals and other units of the state, he added. In addition, the work on oxygen generation plant and centralised oxygen system is underway, the minister added. PTI AG MA MA MA MA