AP CM writes to other CMS on urging Centre to take charge of vaccination drive

Amaravati: Andhra Pradesh drew a blank to its global bid inviting international pharma firms to supply Covid-19 vaccine, prompting Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy to write to all his counterparts stating that the situation has now transformed into a ‘States Vs Union’ and it was time for all of them to “speak in a single voice.”

“It is my request that as Chief Ministers we speak in a single voice and urge the Government of India to take charge and responsibility of the vaccination drive, the way it was happening in the early part of the year.”

“The decision of giving the states a larger say in the vaccination procurement was something that was unwarranted,” Jagan noted in the letter.

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He said the need of the hour was to increase vaccine availability through any source.

“A centralised and coordinated vaccination, supported by the state, would lead to wonderful results for the people of India.The (current) vaccination drive is plagued by multiple coordination issues. Some states feel they are not getting enough and global tenders floated are not getting the desired responses,” the AP CM pointed out.

Jagan said AP had gone for a global tender to procure vaccines directly.

“But to my dismay, no one quoted and the reasons being the situation now being transformed into States Vs Union and also the approving authority being the Government of India,” he added.

Any delay in vaccinating people would come at a heavy price, he warned, as “our sharpest weapon against coronavirus is the vaccine”.

Jagan urged his fellow Chief Ministers to lend support and speak in one voice and ensure India overcame the pandemic.

The AP government had floated a global tender on May 13 for procurement of Covid-19 vaccine (from foreign producers) sufficient to inoculate one crore persons.

When the bid submission deadline ended on Thursday, not one was filed.

“The situation is similar in all the states. Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Odisha got no bids.Karnataka cancelled the global tender due to lack of bids.UP extended the time till June 10,” Principal Secretary (Health) Anil Kumar Singhal said.

“When we conducted the pre-bid meeting on May 20, representatives from three companies turned up, giving us some hope. But eventually not one filed the bid,” he noted.

The state has now decided to extend the time by two weeks to try its luck.

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