The BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), as on Tuesday, received nine bids for its global tender to procure COVID-19 vaccines from the open market. Without giving any further extension, it began the scrutiny of documents submitted by the nine bidders.
Seven of the nine bidders have come forward with proposals to supply Russian vaccines –six bids are for Sputnik V (double dose) and one is for Sputnik Light (single shot). The eighth and ninth suppliers have submitted proposals to supply vaccine doses that are approved and available.
On May 12, BMC floated a global expression of interest (EOI) to procure 1 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses from the open market. The last date for participation in the tender was May 18. Subsequently, responses/bids from five potential suppliers were received by May 18, 2021. However, due to the issues pertaining to incomplete documentation by the manufacturers/distributors, the deadline was extended by a week. On May 25, the last day for the bid, the civic body received three more responses. The deadline was once again extended to June 1. "Since May 12, we have received a response from 10 bidders. However, one bidder withdrew last week, leaving nine bidders in the fray. We have started scrutinising the documents submitted by these bidders," said a senior BMC official.
The civic body's announcement about one of the bidders offering Pfizer raised doubts amongst different circles across the globe. This was because the United State’s pharmaceutical giants Pfizer and Moderna had refused to supply vaccines to the Delhi and Punjab state government, saying that they will only deal with the central government, and not individual states. On May 28, one of the bidders, a vaccine supplier from the Czech Republic, who offered to supply Pfizer and AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses to the BMC, had withdrawn its proposal.
"Apart from the authentication of documents, we will also verify the business relationship between the supplier and the manufacturer of the vaccines. It is important, as this will be an assurance that we will receive the stock on time and regularly without any interruption. The rates at which these suppliers are willing to make stocks available will also be taken under consideration," said a senior BMC official.