Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal urged the Centre to “actively monitor and supervise” private COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers in the country and ensure adequate availability and uniform price of the vaccine doses to states and Union territories.
The central government should make available to the states/UTs the requisite number of vaccine doses to enable vaccination of all its citizens, he said.
In a letter to Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, Mr Kejriwal said the Union government should direct vaccine manufacturers–Serum Institute and Bharat Biotech–to increase their monthly supplies to Delhi to 6 million doses per month during May-July, for achieving the target of vaccinating all in the city.
Citing “glitches” in CoWIN mobile application with regard to vaccination registration, the Delhi CM also sought permission for states/UTs to develop their own apps or other mechanisms for the same.
“The Centre should actively monitor and supervise the manufacture of vaccines by the private parties so that supplies in adequate quantity are made to all state governments, and this crucial aspect is not left to the discretion of the private manufacturers,” he said in the letter.
He also said that a uniform price should be fixed for the vaccines for supplies made to governments (whether central or states) and private hospitals.
“The inherent fallacy and danger in the current differential pricing mechanism is that there is an obvious incentive for private manufacturers to prioritise supplies to private hospitals over supplies being made to government,” Mr Kejriwal claimed.
He has reiterated on several occasions that his government can vaccinate everyone in the national capital within three months if the Centre ensures supply of adequate doses of vaccine to it.
He said Delhi needs 3 crore vaccine doses, out of which, only around 40 lakh doses have been received by it so far.
The Delhi government has already placed supply orders with Bharat Biotech and Serum Institute (SII), and have approached Dr Reddy’s Laboratories for “Sputnik” vaccines, Mr Kejriwal stated in the letter.
Delhi has a population of around 20 million, out of which, 15 million are aged above 18 years. Vaccinating all of them would need 30 million doses, he said.
“We have received roughly 5 million doses so far. Therefore, we need about 25 million additional doses. But we are not able to receive supplies as per our requirement and even get firm delivery schedules,” he said.
The chief minister said his government wants to complete vaccination of all people living in Delhi within three months, in anticipation of the third wave of COVID 19.
“We would need 2.3 million doses per month from Government of India channel during the three months of May to July 2021 (for the 45+ beneficiaries). Delhi has around 9.2 million people in 18-45 age group.
“Convergence of sincere efforts of Government of India, states and private sector is essential to ensure faster vaccination. But such convergence is getting constrained by continued glitches in the CoWIN app,” the letter stated.