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Calling the 'Shots': Kerala Issues Global Tender for 30 Million Covid Vaccine Doses

File photo of Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan.

File photo of Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan.

The bid document has stipulated an earnest money deposit of Rs 100 million for each bidder but has promised no advance payment.

After half a dozen states, the Kerala government on Wednesday placed a global tender to procure 30 million Covid-19 vaccine doses, saying it would be splitting the order into four equal lots and each must be delivered within 30 days.

Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Uttarakhand, and Maharashtra had so far issued global tenders for 151 million vaccines in all, with domestic supply failing to keep up with rising demand amid a destructive second wave of the pandemic. With Kerala, the total number goes up to 181 million vaccines. The state’s bid document, reviewed by News18, has stipulated an earnest money deposit of Rs 100 million for each bidder but has promised no advance payment. The bid document also says that the state government will be splitting the total order into four equal purchase orders and expects each order to be supplied within 30 days. “The payments of 50% of the ordered quantity will be made on receipt of documents at sight and the balance payment will be made within 30 days from the date of receipt of the item,” the document says. Technical bids will open on June 5. The storage condition of the vaccine was put at 2-8 degrees Celsius.

According to the Liberalised Pricing and Accelerated National Covid-19 Vaccination Strategy, inoculation is free at government vaccination centres that receive doses from the Centre for eligible population groups comprising healthcare workers, frontline workers and people above the 45 years of age. States and private hospitals, however, have to procure vaccines to immunise persons in the age group of 18 to 44 years.

While no specific mention has been made in the bid document regarding barring companies from neighbouring countries (like China) from applying, it has been said that “the bidder should hold all the essential permissions, licenses and compliances within India under different laws and regulations of Central Government as well as State Government.” A central government official told News18 that all states are bound by the ministry of finance order dated July 23, 2020, under which restrictions were placed on bidders from countries sharing a land border with India and only those firms registered by a committee under the Centre’s Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) will be allowed to participate in bids at the Centre or the states.

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The Kerala bid document says the vaccine offered must meet the requirements of manufacturing legislation and regulation of vaccines in the country of origin, meet internationally recognised standards for safety, efficacy, and quality, and have a certificate of quality control and test results in conformity with the WHO release certificate. “The bidder shall be Covid-19 Vaccine Manufacturers or Importers or Indian partners of foreign manufacturers. The bidder should have valid license to manufacture or export Covid-19 Vaccine to India from the Competent Authority or Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI). The Vaccine to be supplied must be as per the guidelines issued by Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR), should have DCGI approval for supply of the vaccines in India and hold Valid Import License,” the bid document of the Kerala government says. “Where the item offered is approved by WHO but not approved by DCGI on the day of bidding, the award of contract/purchase order will be subject to issue of license/approval by DCGI.”

The bidder shall supply the product at the drugs warehouses of the corporation located at Thiruvananthapuram, Ernakulam and Kozhikode, by door delivery, the document says. “The bidder should be able to maintain and provide the cold storage requirement detailed in the document, if the type of vaccine demands it. The bidder should either have their own cold chain transporting system or should have proper contract with a transporting agent having facilities to transport the drugs under cold chain norms from the manufacturing unit to the respective warehouses of the Corporation by complying cold chain norms,” the document adds.

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first published:May 19, 2021, 14:24 IST