No Covaxin Supply ‘Under Government Instruction’: Delhi Cites Letter


Manish Sisodia accused the Centre of controlling supply of Covid shots and of “vaccine mismanagement”.

Highlights

  • Bharat Biotech has refused to supply vaccine, Manish Sisodia said
  • “Exporting 6.6 crore doses was biggest mistake,” he tweeted
  • Bharat Biotech co-founder Suchitra Ella tweeted a counter

New Delhi:

Covaxin maker Bharat Biotech has refused to supply doses to Delhi “under instructions” from the central government, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia alleged today, accusing the Centre of controlling the supply of Covid shots and of “vaccine mismanagement”. The company said it was “disheartening” that some states were complaining about its intentions.

Bharat Biotech has said it will not be able to supply vaccines to the capital citing directives of the government and limited availability, Mr Sisodia said at a digital press meet.

“The Covaxin manufacturer has, in a letter, said it cannot provide Delhi government vaccines due to unavailability, under instructions of the concerned government official. It means that the central government is controlling the supply of the vaccine,” he said.

The Delhi government, Mr Sisodia said, had asked for 1.34 crore vaccine doses to vaccinate those between 18 and 44 – equal doses of Covaxin and Serum Institute of India’s Covishield. “They say that the Centre will decide who will get how much vaccine,” he told reporters.

He also shared on Twitter the letter from Bharat Biotech chairman Krishna Ella responding to the Delhi government’s request on May 7.

“There has been an unprecedented demand for our vaccine and in spite of increasing production every month, we are unable to keep up with the demand. Further, we are making dispatches as per the directives of the concerned government officials. We therefore sincerely regret that we cannot make any additional supplies as required by you,” says the letter from Dr Ella.

Bharat Biotech co-founder Suchitra Ella, in a tweet, said, “Covaxin dispatched 10/5/21.18 states have been covered though in smaller shipments. Quite disheartening to the teams to hear some states complaining about our intentions. 50 of our employees are off work due to Covid, yet we continue to work under pandemic lockdowns 24×7 for you.”

Mr Sisodia also said the Centre must immediately stop exporting vaccines and share the vaccine formulae with a wider group. “Like Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal suggested, since both companies have limited production capacity, the formula should be taken from them and given to other companies who can make vaccines and there should be mass production,” he said.

It was the central government’s responsibility to procure vaccines from the international market and deliver it to states, he remarked, offering his own view of how the system could work.

“Stopping exports, procuring vaccines should be the centre’s responsibility and vaccinating people at the earliest should be the state’s responsibility,” Mr Sisodia said.

Several states have had to pause or delay the latest phase of vaccinations, covering adults below 45, because of the shortage of vaccines.

Beginning May 1, the centre’s new policy says vaccine makers can sell half their doses directly to states and private hospitals at higher rates. The rest will continue to be supplied to the centre for free vaccinations of those above 45, health workers and frontline workers.

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