In a recent development, a new report from PTI states that Pfizer will be supplying 5 crore units of its vaccine to India in 2021 only if the Indian government meets its terms and conditions. The development came after Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal claimed that Pfizer denied to send vaccines to the country’s capital Delhi, and a similar claim was made by the Punjab CM as well.
According to a new PTI report, Pfizer has shown willingness to supply 1 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses in July, 1 crore doses in August, 2 crore vaccine doses in September and another 1 crore in October, adding the total to 5 crore doses.
Conditions raised by Pfizer
However, the pharmaceutical giant has reportedly stated that it will not be dealing with any states and will only with the government of India and will be accepting payments made by the government of India.
Pfizer, as reported by PTI, has asked the Centre for an indemnification just like it had asked the same form the 116 countries it has made dealings with so far. According to Reuters, an indemnification here means that Pfizer will be legally protected from any issues raised after the vaccine’s usage.
As per Hindustan Times, another report states that the US drug maker also wants relaxations in the “requirement of post-approval bridging trials and dispensing the requirement of testing their vaccines in Central Drugs Laboratory”.
It should be noted that any foreign made vaccine is approved only after local trials in India are conducted. For example, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, which will be manufacturing the Russian Sputnik V vaccine, conducted local trials in India before starting with the vaccination.
“We are coordinating with Pfizer, Moderna”: Health Ministry joint secretary
Meanwhile, Health Ministry’s joint secretary Lav Agarwal said-
“Whether it is Pfizer or Moderna, at the Centre-level, we have been coordinating with them. The order book of both Pfizer and Moderna is full so it depends on their surplus that how much they can provide in India… they will come back to the Centre and we will help in facilitation to states.”
Agarwal statement came after Delhi and Punjab CM claimed that Pfizer denied providing them vaccines citing that the drugmaker will only deal with the Central Government and not supply to individual states.
BMC claims receiving bid from Pfizer, drugmaker denies the claim
However, in an interesting turn of events, Iqbal Singh of Maharashtra’s Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation said how the Maharashtra-based civic body has actually received a bid from Pfizer in response to the tender BMC floated a few weeks ago.
Later, Pfizer official was quoted by news agency ANI saying-
“Neither Pfizer Inc nor any of its affiliates globally, including in India, have authorized anyone to import/market/distribute the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID 19 vaccine. We continue to have ongoing discussions with the Government of India towards making our vaccine available for use nationally.”
Centre allows on-site registration for those in 18-44 age category
In the third phase of the vaccination drive, that is targeting every individual in the 18-44 age category, the Centre finally enabled on-site slot registration at all the government run CVCs (COVID-19 Vaccination Centres. Prior to this, a beneficiary in the 18-44 category had to register themself on the online Co-Win platform or application. The said move was taken to minimize the vaccine wastage.
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in its statement said-
“This feature will be used only upon the decision of the respective State/UT Government to do so. State/UT must decide on the opening of on-site registrations/facilitated cohorts’ registration and appointments for 18-44 years age group based on the local context just as an additional measure to minimize vaccine wastage and for facilitating vaccination of eligible beneficiaries in the age group 18-44 years.”