Jaipur, May 12: The Rajasthan government is exploring the possibility of purchasing COVID-19 vaccines from other countries through global tenders, Health Minister Raghu Sharma said on Wednesday.

Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, however, said it would have been better if the central government had procured the vaccines by floating global tenders and distributing them to states. ‘SII Hasn’t Contracted Full Production of COVID-19 Vaccine to Centre; States Are Free To Procure Vaccine’.

“On directions from the chief minister, the officers are exploring the possibilities of global tenders to purchase COVID vaccines,” Sharma said. He said there are 2.09 crore beneficiaries above the age of 45 years in the state and 4.5 crore doses were required to vaccinate them but the state has only 1.5 crore doses. For people in the 18-44 age group, 7 crore doses are needed, he said.

“We placed orders for 3.75 crore doses but the supply is just in lakhs. There is a situation of uncertainty about the vaccines, therefore our officers are now exploring the possibility of global tenders for the vaccine purchase,” Sharma said.

Meanwhile, Gehlot said several states were floating global tenders to procure vaccines due to lack of doses in the country. He said that the system of "one-stop procurement" would be in the interest of all the states.

“It would have been better if the central government had procured the vaccines through global tenders, distributed them in the states and asked the state governments to pay,” Gehlot said in a tweet in Hindi.

“However, the demand of the people is that the vaccine should be provided absolutely free by the central government. The system of one-stop procurement would be better for all states,” he said.

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