US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has refused to send Covid vaccines to Punjab directly making it clear that they only deal with the central government a day after Moderna declined the state government’s request. Pfizer, however, appreciated the “extraordinary efforts” of the Government of Punjab’s response to the pandemic in the state.
This comes soon after the two pharma giants refused to send shots to the Delhi government directly citing the same reason.
State Nodal Officer for vaccination and Senior IAS Officer Mr Vikas Garg said that Pfizer in its communication has said that they are “working with Federal Governments across the world to supply its Covid-19 vaccine for use in National Immunization programs.”
“Our supply agreements at this time are with National Governments and Supra-national organizations with allocation of doses and implementation within the country being a decision that Governments take based on relevant health authority guidance. This approach Pfizer has followed across the world,” the communication from Pfizer read.
The IAS officer further said that all vaccine manufacturers were approached for direct purchase of various Covid vaccines, including Sputnik V, Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson, as per the directions of Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh to explore possibilities of floating a global tender for the procurement of vaccines from all possible sources to ensure early inoculation in the state.
“All efforts would be made for procurement of vaccines to meet the acute shortage in the state,” Mr Garg said. He added that now the state is hoping for a positive reply from Sputnik V and Johnson & Johnson.
Punjab stopped vaccination for Phase I and Phase 2 categories in the last three days because of acute vaccine shortage in the state. Punjab has received around 45.3 lakh vaccine doses so far from the Government of India.
Punjab reported over 5,000 Covid cases on Sunday taking the total infections in the state to 5.39 lakh.