Kerala cancels order for buying 1 cr. vaccine doses due to supply issues

KMSCL tells High Court that manufacturers informed that they could only supply doses earmarked by Centre

Kerala Medical Services Corporation Limited (KMSCL), the procurement agency of the State government, informed the Kerala High Court on Tuesday that it had cancelled the orders for buying 1 crore doses of COVID-19 vaccines as the two manufacturing companies expressed their inability to supply the vaccines.

The submission was made by M. Ajay, counsel for the corporation, when a public interest petition challenging the Centre’s Liberalised Pricing and Accelerated National COVID-19 Vaccination Strategy and other cases, including the one seeking to open more vaccination centres, came up for hearing.

The counsel submitted that the manufacturers had informed the corporation that they could supply only the doses of vaccines earmarked by the Centre for State governments out of the 50% non-governmental quota. The Central government allocated a particular number of doses of vaccines under this quota for supplying to State governments. Therefore, the manufacturer of Covishield told the Corporation that it could not supply the doses of vaccine in terms of the order placed by the corporation. As a result, all the procurement orders had been cancelled.

The Corporation had on April 29 placed the orders with the manufacturers for supply of 70 lakh doses of Covisheild vaccine and 30 lakh doses Covaxin.

Change in policy

The Central government submitted that there had been a major shift in the Centre’s vaccine policy and persons in the age group of 18-44 would be vaccinated free of cost. Private hospitals and entities could buy vaccines under the 25% earmarked for private sector. The policy would be rolled out from June 21.

The court directed the corporation to file a statement on difficulties faced by the Corporation in procuring the vaccines. The court asked the Centre to file a statement regarding the Centre’s new policy on procurement and administration of vaccines.

The court adjourned to June 10 the hearing on the petitions.

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