The state governments do not have to procure Covid-19 vaccines from manufacturers since the Central government will be procuring 75 per cent of the vaccines produced in India to supply to the states free of cost.

During a Press conference today, the NITI Aayog’s Member (Health) Dr V.K. Paul said that the state governments do not need to procure vaccines directly from the manufacturing units as the “Centre will provide vaccines to all states and UTs free of cost. Vaccine manufacturers in India will sell up to 75 per cent of their total stock to the Centre and the remaining 25 per cent, to the private healthcare centres,”

He further said, earlier, the Centre had allowed the state governments to procure vaccines and float global tenders for it. However, the decision to rule out decentralisation was taken after observing the apparent difficulties which the state governments encountered, resulting in the subsequent failure in procurement that instead paved the way for different sorts of narratives in the country.

He pointed out, last month, as many as 12 state governments recommended centralised procurement of vaccines to add more speed to the vaccination drive. “Twelve state governments have made requests to the Centre including 10 chief ministers, one Lt Governor and one chief secretary.”

It was however highlighted by him that even when the states were allowed to procure vaccines on their own, the Centre never failed to keep a close watch on every situation. “There have been regular discussions on vaccination, starting from procurement to supply, different age groups etc. With feedback from the states, it was decided that centralisation was the best way” he said.

Paul added that though the Centre will provide vaccines to all states and UTs free of cost to administer to people at government-run vaccination centres,  the states would be allowed to set their own priority regarding the age groups.

“It was also decided that the states would be informed about the stock of vaccines at least one month before so they can gear up for mass vaccination drive,” he added.