Mumbai Gets Bids For Pfizer, Other Vaccines Amid Global Tender Row

The Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) had floated global tenders to buy vaccines at Rs 700 crore on May 12.

The Pfizer/AstraZeneca bid is from a Czech company called O2 Blue Energy SRL (File)

Mumbai:

Mumbai's civic body claimed today that it had received bids for the supply of Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Sputnik in response to its global tender for one crore vaccine doses. A Czech company has bid to supply Pfizer and AstraZeneca shots, said a top official, but Pfizer asserted that it has not authorized anyone to do so.

The Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) had floated global tenders on May 12 to buy vaccines at Rs 700 crore. The deadline ended today.

"In response to MCGM's Global Expression of Interest for procurement of one crore vaccine doses, I wish to inform that eight bids have been received till date.  One bid is for Pfizer/AstraZeneca and the remaining seven bids are for Sputnik," said Iqbal Singh Chahal, commissioner of the civic body.

The Pfizer/AstraZeneca bid is from a Czech company called O2 Blue Energy SRL, which says it can provide a mix of both the vaccines in a month, according to Mr Chahal.

Shortly after his comments, Pfizer put out a disclaimer. "Neither Pfizer nor any of its affiliates globally, including in India, have authorized anyone to import/market/distribute Pfizer-BioNTech COVID 19 vaccine. We continue to have discussions with the government of India towards making our vaccine available for use nationally," said a spokesperson.

Pfizer has refused to sell its vaccine directly to states and had recently told Punjab it would only deal with the central government.

The time for bids was extended by a week to enable the various bidders to submit a complete set of documents as prescribed under MCGM's Global Expression of Interest. "Any additional bid shall also be entertained," Mr Chahal said.

Bidders are required by the Mumbai civic body's terms to have their own cold chain for vaccine transport and delivery or to show a valid contract with an agent that has facilities to transport the vaccines to the storage facility, hospitals, or vaccination centres.

Mumbai was forced to shut down many vaccination centres because of the shortage of Covid shots, especially after May 1, when inoculations were opened to all adults.

The Centre's new policy meant states and private hospitals would have to buy vaccines directly for the newly eligible group between 18 and 44 years.

Many states announced they would float global tenders to source vaccines directly from foreign manufacturers.

But for states like Delhi, Chhattisgarh, Assam and Punjab, the move has been a non-starter. Others are either yet to float tenders or have just sought bids.