In a much-needed attempt to replenish its vaccination stock, Mumbai’s BMC has floated a tender to procure 1 crore vaccines. Interestingly, China will be barred to participate along with any country that shares its borders with India. This decision came after Shiv Sena’s Aditya Thackeray on Monday announced that BMC will be looking into procuring COVID-19 from global players to meet the demands.
Amid shortage of vaccine and alarming number of fresh COVID-19 cases every day, Mumbai’s BMC issued a tender to invite vaccine makers that can bid and provide Mumbai 1 crore vaccines. The financial capital of Maharashtra reported 2,104 new cases on May 13 taking its total number of cases to 6,81,233. Meanwhile 66 more people died in the span of 24 hours taking the total death toll due to the infectious disease at 13,972.
The Municipal Commissioner of BMC I.S. Chahal on Wednesday said-
“BMC has issued a global bid today to acquire one crore COVID-19 vaccines to vaccinate citizens in Mumbai at the earliest on a massive scale in its decisive fight against coronavirus.”
The BMC floated an EoI (Expression of Interest) to procure 1 crore vaccine doses for the city of Mumbai. Interestingly, it looks like Mumbai wants to keep China at bay the EoI included a condition that bars all the countries that share borders with India from taking part in the bid.
Question on quality aspects of Chinese vaccines: BMC
The Additional Municipal Commissioner of the BMC gave some insight into the matter and said that the BMC has decided to add this condition to effectively ban all the Chinese vaccine makers from participating. The commissioner cited the quality standards of Chinese vaccine as a reason for this condition.
“We are not aware of the Central government’s current policy. But we have decided to put in this condition in the tender to ban Chinese firms from participating in the EoI. There is a question on the quality aspects and other specifics of the Chinese vaccines. We are not accepting that (WHO approval),”
said the Additional Municipal Commissioner.
According to reports, the vaccine makers will have time till May 18 to respond to the EoI. Once the companies are finalized, they will have to deliver the ordered vaccines in 3 weeks of the issue of order. These companies will also need to meet several compliance standards that are put in place in India such as registration, import facility, etc.
A BMC official stated that Mumbai’s requirement of vaccine for 18-plus citizens is around 1.50 crore. Further, Chahal, the Municipal Commissioner also said that the municipal corporation of Mumbai will make every possible effort to acquire sufficient quantities of vaccine so that all the eligible beneficiaries are able to get vaccinated within the next 60-90 days.
Accepting bids from Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson
Earlier, BMC had announced that along with the Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin and Serum Institute of India’s Covishield, it will also be accepting bids from other vaccine manufacturers such as Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, Sputnik.
Aditya Thackeray, Cabinet Minister of Maharashtra had earlier said, “Looking at the need for adequate vaccines to ensure that vaccination is swift and efficient, after discussing the issue with Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, as guardian minister of Mumbai, we have asked BMC to explore possibilities of global procurement of vaccine.”
Vaccination drive for those between 18-44 in Mumbai suspended
Meanwhile, due to the vaccine shortage in the city, BMC on Wednesday evening announced that the vaccination for those between 18-44 will be suspended till further notice. Later, Maharashtra govt also announced its decision to suspend vaccination for the same 18-44 category so that the vaccine can be used to inoculate those who are above 45 and are waiting for their second dose.
BMC also announced that it had tweaked its vaccination guidelines. According to BMC those who are above 60 years and are awaiting their second dose of the Serum Institute’s Covishield, those who are yet to get their second dose of Covaxin and specially abled people can now choose to just walk-in and get vaccinated from Monday to Wednesday.
However, from Thursday to Saturday, the vaccination will only be taking place through prior booking from the Co-WIN platform. Further, all the vaccination centres will be completely shut on Sunday.
For ONLY all those due for the second dose, age group 60 and above or differently abled, the BMC has reserved Monday, Tuesday Wednesday (17th, 18th, 19th May) walk in vaccination at all our centres. (1/2) https://t.co/laOzxv3eSO
— Aaditya Thackeray (@AUThackeray) May 12, 2021
“Looking at the limited supply of vaccines, it is crucial that we complete the prescribed second shot in the coming week for those who have gone past the prescribed gap between two vaccines,” Aditya Thackeray had tweeted.
Looking at the limited supply of vaccines, it is crucial that we complete the prescribed second shot in the coming week for those who have gone past the prescribed gap between 2 vaccines.
— Aaditya Thackeray (@AUThackeray) May 12, 2021