Odisha Pushes Centre To Make Procurement of Vaccines ‘Top Priority’

Odisha Health Minister Naba Kisore Das recently wrote to Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare pushing for central procurement of vaccines as Odisha faced a roadblock in its efforts to acquire doses through global tender. The letter urged the Centre’s help in expediting Odisha’s vaccination drive.

Soon after, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik wrote a letter to all Chief Ministers underlining the importance of coming together, keeping differences aside and working in the spirit of cooperative federalism. Via his letter, he seeks the cooperation of other states in a push for centralised procurement of vaccines.

“The only way to protect our people against future waves and provide them with a hope of survival is vaccination. Countries which have focused on vaccination program have seen a remarkable improvement in their Covid situation. We have to provide this healing touch to our people,” Patnaik said in his letter.

“No State is safe unless we adopt vaccination as the topmost priority and execute it on a war-footing. But this cannot be a battle among the states to compete against each other,” he added.

Patnaik also urged the Centre to increase the pace of the vaccination drive as universal vaccination could go a long way in the fight against this ravaging virus.

Global tenders floated by various states, including Odisha, have not succeeded as vaccine producers such as Pfizer, Moderna are only willing to engage with the central government because of indemnity related issues.

Notably, Odisha has inoculated over six million people with minimal wastage and has ramped up the vaccination drive. However, a shortage of vaccine has compelled Odisha to garner support from other states to put pressure on the Centre.

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