At least eight Indian states, including Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Delhi, Orissa, Rajasthan, and Karnataka have decided to float global tenders to procure coronavirus vaccines amid a shortage of supplies from domestic manufacturers.
Karnataka Deputy State Chief CN Ashwath told reporters, "Now, we have been instructed to float a tender and to complete the process within seven days".
Andhra Pradesh Principal Secretary (Health) Anil Kumar Singhal told PTI that the state government would issue a tender in a day or two for vaccines from foreign manufacturers.
"We have already placed an order for the purchase of the Sputnik V vaccine but Dr Reddys Laboratories, the local manufacturer, said it will only give clarity on supplies after 15 May, after assessing production capacity", Singhal said.
Similarly, the Uttarakhand state government on Wednesday confirmed that it would import two million doses of the Sputnik V vaccine over the next two months.
Currently, two companies — Bharat Biotech and the Serum Institute of India are supplying vaccines to India. Russia's Sputnik V too got clearance in India and is expected to enter the commercial market by the end of May or early June.
Sputnik V, developed by Russia's Gamaleya National Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, is currently the only foreign-made vaccine that has been approved by the Narendra Modi government for production and use in India. On 3 May, India received the first 150,000 doses of Sputnik V.
Last month, the federal government agreed to fast-track vaccine approvals for medications developed outside India and that have been granted emergency use authorisation by other drug regulatory agencies.
The vaccines that have been given emergency use authorisation by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), European Medicines Agency (EMA), UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and the Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency (PMDA) of Japan, or those that have been prequalified by the World Health Organisation (WHO) will be eligible for use in India without having to conduct a local clinical trial.