Moderna Declined Request For Sending Vaccines Directly To State: Punjab

Punjab had reached out to Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, and the manufacturer or Sputnik V, too, but only Moderna responded.

Moderna is the only company among the many approached by Punjab to have responded.

Chandigarh:

US pharmaceutical firm Moderna has refused to send supplies of its Covid vaccine directly to Punjab saying that, according to its official policy, the company will deal only with the Government of India. The Amarinder Singh administration had reached out to all such manufacturers looking for direct purchases, officials said.

Punjab is exploring possibilities of floating a global tender to procure vaccines from all possible sources, including Sputnik V manufacturer Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson, state nodal officer for vaccination, Vikas Garg, said.

Only Moderna has replied till now, but the firm has refused to deal with the state government, he said. So far, about 90 million people have been inoculated the world over with Moderna's vaccine, ANI reported.

Punjab was forced to stop vaccination for Phase 1 and 2 categories in the past three days due to non-availability of doses. The state has been been able to buy only 4.2 lakh vaccine doses, including 66,000 received yesterday, under the Centre's Phase 3 (18-44 age group) allocation. Up to 3.65 lakh of these have already been used up, leaving only 64,000 now, Mr Garg said.

"All efforts would be made for procurement of vaccines to meet the acute shortage in the state, which had received fewer than 44 lakh vaccine doses so far from the Government of India," he said.

Punjab reported nearly 5,300 fresh Covid cases yesterday, taking its overall number of infections till date to 5.34 lakh. It also reported 201 deaths, putting the state's overall fatalities at over 13,000.