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Kerala Kaumudi Online
Wednesday, 22 September 2021 9.11 PM IST

Govt may consider proposal for centralised procurement of vaccines: FM

nirmala-sitaraman

​​​​​NEW DELHI: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the government may consider the proposal for centralised procurement of vaccines as she hit out at opposition-ruled states for the tardy pace of vaccination and high wastage.

“We may examine it (central procurement),” the Economic Times quoted Sitharaman as saying. Most opposition-ruled states now want the Centre to procure vaccines, backpedalling after seeking more flexibility in vaccination, as their global bids for supplies did not elicit any serious response.

Odisha health minister Naba Kisore Das wrote to Union health minister Harsh Vardhan a few days ago to press for central procurement. His demand has received support from Kerala, Jharkhand and few other states.

Worth mentioning here is that the Supreme Court has also suggested that the central government procure vaccines at a negotiated price. According to government data, as of June 6, states have received 246 million doses of vaccines and at present have around 16.3 million doses with them.

The Centre has provided Rs 35,000 crore for vaccination in the current year's budget. Sitharaman said more funds can be provided if need be.

On April 19, the Centre had announced a ‘liberalised and accelerated’ Phase 3 vaccination policy, which allowed vaccination for everyone over the age of 18 years beginning May 1.

Under the plan, 50% of the total domestic production of vaccines would go to the Centre for the vaccination of people over 45 years of age, 25% to states for vaccinating the 18-44 years age group and the balance 25% to the private sector. States are also free to procure approved vaccines from global suppliers. Vaccination for the 18-44 group has been slow because of lack of supplies.

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TAGS: VACCINE PROCUREMENT, UNION GOVT, NIRMALA SITARAMAN, PROPOSAL, CENTRALISED PROCUREMENT, ECONOMIC TIMES, FINANCE MINISTER
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