The Central government in its liberalisation policy for the COVID-19 vaccine which had come into effect on May 1 seems to contradict from the fixed specific quotas for how much vaccine the Delhi government can directly purchase from manufacturers. The Centre had announced the liberalisation policy on April 21, where in the Centre which was the only sole procurer of the vaccines then gave the liberty to the states to procure vaccines.
As per the policy, the state governments and private hospitals have been allowed to directly buy up to 50 percent of the stock of vaccine makers Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech.
The Centre defended the new policy after facing criticism, claiming it is in response to states demanding greater freedom in being able to access vaccines. However as per a NDTV report, the liberalisation policy seems to contradict.
In the letters received by NDTV, by Manohar Agnani, Additional Secretary, Union Health Ministry, to the Vikram Dev Dutt Principal Secretary, Health and Family Welfare, Delhi Government, for Covishield and for Covaxin, it read 3 lakh doses of Covishield and 92,000 doses of Covaxin are available to the Delhi government for direct procurement for the month of June.
The letters further mention the number of doses that will be provided to Delhi under the Centre's free supply scheme for vaccinating those above 45.
The letters deepen the confusion around the liberalised policy.
States have repeatedly complained that attempts to procure vaccines directly have been pointless, with vaccine makers expressing inability to meet their orders.
On April 26, Delhi announced that it had placed orders for 67 lakh doses of Covaxin and Covishield, but it has since been receiving only small quantities of the vaccines, forcing to shut down vaccination centres.