Mumbai receives 8 bids for global vaccine tender

Pfizer/AstraZeneca, Sputnik show interest, deadline extended to June 1

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Geetanjali Minhas | May 26, 2021 | Mumbai


#Covid-19   #coronavirus   #Maharashtra   #Mumbai   #vaccine   #Moderna   #Pfizer   #Sputnik  


The Mumbai civic authority has received eight bids for its global tender to procure vaccines, though it has also extended again the deadline, to June 1.

Amid woeful shortages of vaccines threatening to halt the inoculation exercise, nine states and one city sought to procure vaccines directly from abroad. The state have not received any response yet.

The municipal corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM), also known as BrihanMumbai municipal corporation (BMC), had floated the global expression of interest (EoI) tender for 1 crore vaccines on May 12 with a budget of Rs 400 crore.

“In response to the MCGM’s global EoI for procurement of 1 crore vaccine doses I wish to inform that eight bids have been received to date. One bid is for Pfizer/AstraZeneca and remaining seven bids are for Sputnik,” municipal commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal said Tuesday.

He also said the deadline has been extended by a week to enable various bidders to submit a complete set of documents in support of the bids as prescribed under the MCGM’s global EoI. Initially, the deadline was May 18, by when five bids were received, and it was extended to May 25, so that the proposers could submit the required documents. With three more suppliers evincing interest, they have been given extra time for the formalities.

The BMC is now scrutinising the offers. It has asked bidders to provide authorisation letters from manufacturers and exhibit capability to supply vaccines within the required timeframe.
 
Chahal said any additional bid shall also be entertained and terms and conditions of EoI remain unchanged.  
 
As per the EoI, the selected company is required to deliver supplies within three weeks of the issue of the work order and meet all compliances in India like export facilitation and getting essential registrations. Bidders are required to have their own cold chain for vaccine transport and delivery or they have to show a valid contract with an agent that has facilities to transport the vaccines to the storage facility, hospitals or vaccination centres.   
 
Chahal had earlier said that once the city gets 15 million vaccine shots he plans to vaccinate the entire city in the next 60 days. He expressed confidence that Mumbai – among the worst hit in the country so far – may not see a ‘third wave’ in that case.    
 
The Maharashtra government had previously said that it would procure and supply vaccines to all corporations and other civic bodies in the state. But health minister Rajesh Tope on Tuesday said that the state had not received any response to the global tender for vaccine procurement. “We are requesting the central government to float tender and provide us vaccines.”

Hit by vaccine shortage, Maharashtra on May 12 had suspended vaccination drive for 18-44 years age group, including in the city of Mumbai. The governments of Punjab, Delhi, Assam, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and Odisha too floated global tenders but have been refused supplies. Moderna and Pfizer have told Punjab and Delhi that they deal only with national governments and not with states or private entities. The vaccine-maker firms are also under pressure from heavy demand around the world.

The central government’s notification dated April 15 under its policy of vaccine distribution makes it mandatory for the domestic entity of every foreign vaccine to be mandatorily involved and the state governments cannot procure directly from foreign manufacturers. Procurement from a domestic entity may be subject to the central government’s mandates on the extent of state procurement.

The policy says that after applications for vaccines have been made through a domestic entity, the central drugs standard control organisation (CDSCO) will process such applications for restricted use and will take a decision within three working days. It further says that such applications for restricted use must be accompanied by applications for bridging trial protocol, application for import registration certificate and application for import license. If all these applications are found to be in order, the vaccine would be tested at the central drugs laboratory (CDL) in Kasauli. If the testing is found to be in order the applicant will be granted permission for restricted use of the vaccine initially only on 100 beneficiaries and submit the safety data to CDSCO. After such testing on 100 beneficiaries is completed, CDSCO will review the safety data submitted by the applicant and once satisfied will authorize the applicant to use the vaccine. Such approval will be subject to a post-approval “bridging trial protocol” which data will be reviewed by drugs controller general of India (DCGI) to confirm the emergency approval.

Such lengthy and cumbersome paperwork and approvals required to meet regulations stonewall and defeat the very purpose for which such a law has been set up and make mass vaccination impossible to achieve.

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