New Delhi: Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday (May 24, 2021) appealed to the Centre to import COVID-19 vaccines after Pfizer and Moderna refused to directly sell to the Delhi government.
"We've spoken to Pfizer, Moderna for vaccines, and both the companies have refused to sell vaccines directly to us. They have said that they will deal with the Government of India alone. Appeal to the Centre to import vaccines and distribute to the States," Kejriwal told ANI.
Arvind Kejriwal in the past few days has urged the Centre to allow more companies in India to manufacture COVID-19 vaccines in view of the alleged shortage of vaccines in the national capital. He has also said that the Centre should formulate a national policy to vaccinate every person within the next few months by increasing the production. He said that not just two, but multiple companies should be engaged in vaccine production, and the Central Government should take the formula for producing the vaccine from these two companies and give it to all those companies which can safely make the vaccines.
India is currently administering three vaccines - Serum Institute of India's COVISHIELD, Bharat Biotech's COVAXIN and Russia's Sputnik V.
Earlier on Sunday, the Punjab government had said that Moderna has declined a request for a direct supply of vaccines.
"One of a Covid vaccine manufacturer Moderna has refused to send direct vaccination to Punjab government as according to their policy, they only deal with Government of India and not with any state government or private parties," said a statement issued by Punjab's Information and Public Relations Department.
The statement further added, "It may be recalled that the state government was forced to stop vaccination for phase 1 and phase 2 categories in the last three days because of non-availability."
According to ANI, the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna coronavirus vaccines appear to protect against COVID-19 variants B.1.617 and B.1.618, which were first identified in India.
Meanwhile, the cumulative number of vaccine doses administered in the country has crossed 19.60 crores on Monday morning, of which, over 1 crore shots have been to the 18-44 age group under Phase-3 of the COVID-19 vaccination drive.