Aiming to vaccinate a large swathe of the population as early as possible in the city, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Wednesday issued a global bid to acquire one crore Covid-19 vaccines. Currently, the BMC gets Covishield and Covaxin vaccines from domestic manufacturers and from the Central and state governments.
“MCGM has resolved to make every possible effort in the future also, to acquire sufficient quantities of Covid vaccines to vaccinate all eligible citizens of Mumbai on a war footing in the next 60-90 days,” said BMC Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal.
This comes a day after Tourism and Environment Minister Aaditya Thackeray met Chahal, asking him to explore global procurement of vaccines, which would not only accelerate the vaccination drive, but would also help to vaccinate entire Mumbai in three weeks.
“Looking at the need for adequate vaccines to ensure that vaccination is swift and efficient, after discussing the issue with CM (chief minister) Uddhav Thackeray Ji, as guardian minister of Mumbai, we have asked BMC to explore possibilities of global procurement of vaccines (sic),” Mumbai suburban guardian minister Aaditya Thackeray had tweeted on Monday.
“Cost is not a factor and the state government’s priority is ‘procurement at the earliest’. We are looking at the possibility of globally procuring vaccines for Mumbai. If we can do this, we have a roadmap to vaccinate the people of Mumbai in three weeks,” he said.
Additional Municipal Commissioner Suresh Kakani said Mumbai could do with 1.5 crore doses, to ensure vaccination for all. More than 25 lakh doses have so far been given in the metropolis so far to various sections, including health workers, senior citizens and others in the 45-60 age group. “As of now, the total requirement of vaccines for the city is 1.50 crore for the 18-plus population. We will increase the capacity of daily vaccination in a phased manner,” he said.
“All the manufacturers who have licences will be allowed to supply vaccines directly to the city. According to BMC guidelines, the payment for each dose would have to be mutually decided by the private hospital and workplace/housing society,” Kakani said.
According to BMC officials, the civic body would explore the possibility of getting Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson and Russia’s Sputnik V vaccines, among others.