Mumbai Seeks To Buy One Crore Vaccine Doses To Tackle Covid-19

People wearing face masks register at counter as they wait for vaccination at BKC Covid hospital in Mumbai, India. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

Mumbai Seeks To Buy One Crore Vaccine Doses To Tackle Covid-19

Mumbai’s civic body is looking to import one crore Covid-19 vaccines to supplement existing domestic supply.

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation said in a notification global and local manufacturers, wholesalers and authorised dealers can submit their interest for the same during May 12-18. “BMC has resolved to make every possible effort in future also to acquire sufficient quantity of Covid-19 vaccines to vaccinate all eligible citizens of Mumbai on a war-footing in the next 60-90 days,” Municipal Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal said.

The applicant should not belong to countries that share a border with India, said the notice by the Corporation. It listed a plethora of other eligibility criteria for bidders including DCGI approval, WHO GM certificates etc.

The applicant should be able to maintain and provide the cold storage requirement as specified by the BMC (also known as the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai), if the type of vaccine demands it. The BMC has two “walk-in coolers” of 40 cubic metres capacity each, which can be used to store the vaccines at temperatures ranging between 2 and 8 degrees Celsius.

Also, delivery of the vaccines should be done within three works of a work order being issued, the notice said. No advance payment will be offered.

Importantly, the successful applicant will have to pay a performance security of 1% of the contract value as a safeguard against contract violation or unsatisfactory performance. But this fee can be waived by the municipal commissioner if there is a justifiable reason.

Penalty for delayed delivery of vaccine will be 1% per day of undelivered contract value, subject to maximum 10% of total contract value.

Many of these and other criteria are standard requirements for public goods/services tendering by government authorities, yet they may come under scrutiny at a time when the world is short of vaccines.

A vehicle containing Covid-19 vaccines arrives at BKC vaccination center in Mumbai, India. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)
A vehicle containing Covid-19 vaccines arrives at BKC vaccination center in Mumbai, India. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

As of now, India has approved three vaccines - Covishield being manufactured by Serum Institute of India, Covaxin by Bharat Biotech Ltd. and Russia’s Sputnik V being imported by Dr Reddy’s Lab and later to be manufactured locally.

Other vaccines, such as those made by Pfizer, Moderna or J&J, have yet to receive approval from Indian drug authorities.

As per the 2011 census, India’s financial and entertainment capital has a population of 1.24 crore -- but more recent estimates put it at easily over 2 crore, with a large floating population of migrant workers.

As of May 12, the BMC has administered 26,00,321 doses of Covishield and 1,85,727 doses of Covaxin. The vaccines administered include first and second doses.

The import order comes at a time when the city, like many other parts of the country, faces a vaccine shortage.

Also read: Low On Vaccine Supply, Centre Directs States To Prioritise 2nd Dose

Vaccination Schedule Update

For the time being, the city has suspended vaccination of those between 18 - 44 years. States have been tasked with the vaccination of this age cohort, whereas the central government is procuring vaccine supplies for those above 45 years and frontline and health care workers.

With a nationwide shortage of vaccine, the civic body has issued diverted state supplies to ensure second doses are administered in time, irrespective of age group.

For that it has issued guidelines to make vaccination more accessible to its residents.

Accordingly, walk-in vaccination will be provided for the following categories of people on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

  • Second dose of Covishield.
  • Second dose of Covaxin.
  • Specially-abled people.

The rest will have to book appointments online for vaccination on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

The centres will be closed on Sunday.

Also read: The Who, What, When Of Vaccination In India: BQ Explains

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