Andhra floats global tender to procure Covid vaccine

Faced with acute shortage of Covid vaccines amid a raging pandemic, the Andhra Pradesh government has decided to procure vaccines beyond the current options comprising Covishield and Covaxin.

Accordingly, a global tender has been floated by the state government, inviting proposals from various companies, asking them to respond within three weeks.

The decision was taken at the Covid control review meeting chaired by Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy on Wednesday.

This decision comes after several delays in the vaccination process. So far, the state has received 75.49 lakh Covid vaccine doses from the Centre. Of these, 62,60,400 are Covaxin doses by Bharat Biotech, while 12,89,560 are Covishield doses received from the Serum Institute of India.

Reddy said that while the state requires 7 crore vaccine doses in all, so far it has received only 73 lakh doses. Of the two vaccine manufacturers in the country, the Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech has a production capacity of 1 crore doses, while Pune-based Serum Institute of India can produce 6 crore vaccines per month, he noted.

According to government officials, around 32,87,607 people have received the first dose while close to 20,41,377 people have received the second shot of the vaccine.

Out of the first doses received, around 26,69,250 people received Covishield and 6,18,36 people received Covaxin. As far as the second dose is concerned, 17,35,536 people have received Covishield and 3,05,841 people have received Covaxin.

The Chief Minister had recently written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, requesting him that the Covaxin know-how should be shared with other companies with substantial production capabilities, so that vaccine production can be ramped up.