Ten states in India are in the process of floating global tenders for COVID-19 vaccine procurement due to the short supply of the jabs. Tamil Nadu has become the latest state to join the bandwagon with a tender for 5 crore doses.
The Maharashtra government had planned for a global tender to procure 1 crore doses of vaccines. The Uttar Pradesh government on May 7 put out the global tender for 4 crore jabs. The other states which have already put out global tenders to procure the vaccines include Delhi (1 crore jabs), Karnataka (2 crore doses) and Rajasthan (1-4 crore doses).
The Haryana government has announced a similar plan to procure vaccines. Andhra Pradesh government has set a June 3 deadline for filing bids to supply jobs for 2 crore residents in the age groups of 18-44 in the state.
However, while several states are preparing to procure vaccines through global tender, the Centre expects over 200 crore doses of vaccines will be available in India between July and December which will be enough to cover all adults.
Despite releasing global tenders, the states may not get timely delivery unless Russia and China ramp up production by manufacturing billions of doses a month. Many global firms that had committed deliveries with other countries are taking the heat with the EU intending to sue one manufacturer for not sticking to the delivery timeline.
Pune-based Serum Institute of India has announced the setting up of a plant in the UK to cater to the demand in that country. Dr Reddy’s tied up with Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine manufacturer but has received a few thousand vaccines to date from them. Commercial production of Sputnik V will commence by the end of June and they hope to supply over 250 million vaccines in the coming months.
Meanwhile, the Uttar Pradesh government has had talks with global leading manufacturers Pfizer, SII, Bharat Biotech, and Zydus Cadila to ensure they get 4 crore vaccine doses at the earliest.
Though China’s Sinopharm and Sinovac are potential suppliers and can up to an extent ease-out India’s vaccine shortage, states such as Maharashtra and UP have specified in their tenders that they do not want any neighboring country manufacturers to pitch in.
Till the manufacturers ramp up production and ensure cold chain logistics are in place for supplies to commence, it is going to be a few trying months for India.