Indian States are floating Global Vaccine tenders. But are they any useful?
Indian States are floating tenders for vaccines globally. And some Indians immediately say "Oh nice Kejriwal is getting vaccines, Stalin is getting vaccines, Thackrey is getting vaccines”. These are the respective Indian state chief ministers who have floated such tenders.
But how are they going to get it? India is currently the largest producer of Covid vaccines in the World. And all other manufacturing countries like US, Russia, and EU are hands full by themselves. In fact, all of them want to manufacture in India as they do not have the capacity for the current global demand.
And I don’t think anyone wants Chinese vaccines in India. But that’s what is going to come if these states want vaccines now. These are the ones with 50% efficacy in some trials with no peer reviewed data, but somehow approved by the WHO. Yes by the same WHO that also seems to ‘bat’ for China (pun intended) for everything from the Taiwan issue to shielding China’s primal role in this pandemic.
By the time these states get vaccines from the outside, it will be easily September or November. And by then India by itself will be producing enough to vaccinate at a good pace. India is currently ramping up production to more than 150 million vaccines a month. And that’s a great feat in itself. Yet none seems to recognize the achievement.
People are being so silly. Media too. They can’t even understand that vaccines take a lot of things to be made. And it is not simply possible to get the enormous Indian requirement of vaccinating all at 10 million a day, even if you throw all the money at it like the US. There are lots of constraints like raw materials and technology which are being denied. But I assume even if India does 10 million vaccinations a day, the media will cry about slow vaccinations.
People need to be sensible. Media needs to be sensible. And Politicians need to be sensible too. At the very least, let’s be grateful that India has a vaccination program with a choice of vaccines. And that India has mostly done a good job with vaccines and vaccination for Covid.
In the small and rich Singapore, my friend under 30 is still waiting for their vaccine since February. They have like only 4 million adults to vaccinate totally and they are still short of vaccines. Japan has vaccinated only as much as India vaccinates a day. Canada, France, Australia and many other rich countries with much smaller populations have not vaccinated many. Not because they cannot, but because they have a serious crunch in getting vaccines.
Our culture has become one of finding fault in everything. Making hue and cry about everything as going bad. Criticize everything. And state politicians take some silly, stupid actions for show. It is just political messaging for them, saying Indian govt isn’t giving us vaccines so we are getting it ASAP from outside.
But how? The Indian govt itself is a big buyer of vaccines from outside. And are buying the limited number of Russian vaccines now while setting up a local manufacturing facility, as Russia simply cannot meet Indian demand by itself.
The rest are Pfizer, Moderna, and the Chinese ones. The first two are so expensive and have serious logistical issues to be used in India. And the US, the UK, Israel, Canada, Australia, Singapore and so many others want it and all are hoarding them at a high price. So the only thing they can get is Sinovac with no peer reviewed data and low efficacy. Will they go for it in their mad quest to vaccinate?
States like TN, instead of floating global tenders, can invest the money to help Bharat, Cadilla, SII, Glaxo, J&J etc to make vaccines here in India. In their own States. Give them free land, give them tax breaks, help them put up a manufacturing facility. We can manufacture all the raw materials we are in need for our pharma industry. We will grow as a country this way.