Mumbai: Maharashtra Government has formed a five-member global tendering committee headed by the Chief Secretary Sitaram Kunte for the import of Covid-19 vaccines and Remdesivir, announced deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar. The government will soon issue a global tender for the procurement of Remdesivir and vaccines from India and also through imports.
He said Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray will announce the state government’s stand on free vaccination to be launched from May 1.
‘’The government will soon issue a global tender for the procurement of vaccines and Remdesivir from India and also for their imports. The has cabinet has already instructed the CS-led committee to float global tenders. Remdesivir and vaccine supply will be streamlined only when the Centre allows import. We are of the view that when vaccination starts, we will try to purchase vaccines from India as much as possible but if the Centre allows and helps to import, it will be helpful. We will pay for the same,’’ said Pawar after he held a weekly review of the pandemic in Pune district.
Pawar said he talked to Serum Institute of India CEO Adar Poonawalla who has hinted that the company will supply Covishield doses based on the state’s requirement. Still, the state has the option of procurement of other vaccines. ‘’It is the state government’s stand to vaccinate people in the 18-44 category as the Centre has bestowed the responsibility on it,’’ he noted.
Pawar’s announcement came a day after Singapore, Bangladesh and Egypt have evinced interest to supply Remdesivir vials to the state amid increasing demand in the wake of rising Covid-19 cases. The response from these three countries came days after the Centre has allocated 26,000 Remdesivir vials against the requirement of 50,000 vials per day in Maharashtra. Remdesivir is listed for use in serious Covid-19 patients.
As far as cumulative vaccination is concerned, the state has vaccinated 1,39,99,992 as of April 24 and continued its top position among other states. On April 23, a total of 3,03,399 people were vaccinated through 3,531 centres in Maharashtra. Public Health Minister Rajesh Tope has made a strong case for an increase in the supply of vaccine doses so that the state can vaccinate 6 to 7 lakh people per day.