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UP govt to spend Rs 5715 cr to purchase Covid vaccines

If it were to procure only Covaxin, the cost would increase by over Rs 2,000 crore to Rs 7,620 crore or 23% of its health budget. UP has made provision of Rs 32,000 crore in its health budget for 2021-22 against Rs 29,000 crore in 2020-21.

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Lucknow: Uttar Pradesh government will have to spend nearly Rs 5,715 crore or 18% of its health budget for 2021-22, to vaccinate its nearly 10 crore population of 18 to 44 year old with Covishield vaccine.

If it were to procure only Covaxin, the cost would increase by over Rs 2,000 crore to Rs 7,620 crore or 23% of its health budget. UP has made provision of Rs 32,000 crore in its health budget for 2021-22 against Rs 29,000 crore in 2020-21.

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Until April 30, as per Central government policy, the government had been vaccinating only registered healthcare workers, frontline workers and those above the age of 45. Then the central government expanded vaccine eligibility to all adults.

The Centre would continue to procure 50% of manufacturers’ vaccine stocks for Covishield and Covaxin for vaccinating the former groups, and manufacturers could sell the remaining 50% of their vaccine stock to state governments and to private hospitals, as per the new policy. The burden of procuring and administering vaccines for those aged 18 to 44 was thus shifted to the state governments, and to those individual households that can afford private vaccination.

Official’s sources said here on Tuesday the inability of the domestic vaccine manufacturers to cope up with the demand following the surge in infection in second wave of the pandemic, the government decided for floating global tenders as there is huge demand for vaccine shots from the 18-44 age groups. Moreover as per Centre’s policy the inoculation of 18-44 age groups has become solely the state government’s responsibility since May 1.

The spate of global tenders issued by at least nine states so far also exhibit little belief in the Centre’s assertions of a vaccine deluge in India post-August with Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan claiming there will be a total of 30 crore doses available between now and July and 216 crores more doses available between August and December for all age-groups.

The UP State Medical Supplies Corporation Ltd, on behalf of the state government had floated a global tender for 4 crore doses on May 7. As interested vaccine manufacturers expressed their inability to meet some of the storage and supply requirements, the state government later relaxed the norms for procuring vaccines to accelerate the Covid vaccination drive in the state and broaden the response from suppliers for its global tender for jabs.

In the amended bid document, the state government allowed manufacturers of vaccines that have to be stored and transported at a temperature less than minus 20 degree Celsius. It also reduced the earnest or security amount from Rs 16 crore to Rs 8 crore. However, the sellers have to “facilitate” transportation and safe storage of the vaccine — requiring temperatures below -20 degree Celsius — till dispatched to the vaccination centre. The last date of opening of technical bids has been extended to May 31.

The pre bid meeting with representatives of vaccine manufacturers was held on May 12, in which representatives of Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, Serum Institute, Zydus Cadila, Dr Reddy’s, which is manufacturing Sputnik, and Bharat Biotech were present, the government felt the need to relax certain terms and conditions of the global tender in order to enable more companies in participate in the process.

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