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'One Nation, One Policy': Centre Should Procure Vaccines, Demands Maharashtra

Image for representation

Image for representation

Maharashtra seeks a draft national policy on the procurement and distribution of vaccines.

The Central government should procure vaccines for all States and should draw ‘one nation, one policy’ concerning vaccine procurement, the Maharashtra government has demanded. Despite issuing global tenders for vaccines, the Maharashtra government does not have clarity on the supply of vaccines apart from Covishield and Covaxin at present. Though it has received rates from Pfizer, Sputnik and Astra-Zeneca, the companies have not yet provided any supply schedule.

“There should be a national policy for vaccines. The centre should take responsibility for it. But after making the budgetary allocation of Rs 35,000 crore, the Centre has shrieked its responsibility. How will the State governments procure vaccines?” asked Maharashtra Cabinet Minister Nawab Malik.

He requested the Centre to not only draft a national policy regarding the procurement of vaccines but also give details of cost allocation. “The Centre has put the responsibility of 18-44 age group on the State governments. How will the State governments procure vaccines? If the Centre wants, it can request the States to pay the price of these vaccines. Just like we are currently buying our Remdesivir and anti-mucormycosis drugs from the Centre, we are willing to buy vaccines too,” Malik said.

The Maharashtra government had already issued global tenders for the procurement of vaccines. It had said, it was willing to pay the price of vaccines in a single cheque, but has not found a seller yet. Now, both the State as well as the MCGM (Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai) have said they have received a response to their global tenders.

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“We have received rates from Pfizer, Sputnik and Astra-Zeneca to our global tender. However, they have not come up with a supply schedule,” Maharashtra’s Public Health Minister Rajesh Tope said.

He also added that the Centre should buy and distribute the vaccines, “so the pricing will be reasonable”.

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first published:May 26, 2021, 17:52 IST