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Odisha seeks permission from Centre to vaccinate +2 students

Bhubaneswar: Health Minister Naba Kisore Das has written to Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan seeking permission for vaccination of +2 students and their family members in the state.

“States may be given the flexibility to design and decide on distribution of vaccines taking local factors into consideration (for eg. in many hilly terrains, internet connectivity is poor and we can’t make online registration mandatory in those districts; State would like to do priority vaccination for plus 2 students and their families and so on),” Das said in the letter.

Mentioning about global COVID-19 vaccine tender floated by the state and related issues, Das said, “Odisha floated a global tender for procurement of vaccines. However, there has been limited response to the tender as observed during the pre-bid stage. SII and Bharat Biotech have not participated in the pre-bid meeting. It is understood that, at their present capacity they won’t be able to provide vaccines in scale to states and there is an urgent need to scale up their capacities.”

“There have been media reports that other states which floated tenders are also facing non-response from vaccine manufacturers. It seems that the global vaccine manufacturers like Pfizer and Moderna are concerned about indemnity related issues among others. Secondly, they are willing to deal with federal-level central procurement only, at this stage. Global vaccine manufacturers will be requiring the Central Government statutory clearances for supplying to the states,” he said.

“Since the above are in the domain of the Union Government, it might be faster and economical if the procurement of global vaccines are made at the country-level rather by individual states. Our Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is committed to provide vaccines free-of-cost to our people and the state will bear the necessary cost of the vaccines,” Das mentioned.

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