Bengaluru, May 13 (IANS) The Karnataka government on Thursday decided to float a global tender to procure 2 crore additional Covid vaccines to bridge the gap between demand and supply.
"We have already placed a purchase order for 3 crore vaccine doses ? 2 crore doses of Covishield and 1 crore doses of Covaxin," Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa told reporters, adding that Karnataka will float a global tender to procure for 2 crore additional doses.
"Overall, our objective is to procure 5 crore doses for the 18-44 age group. Therefore, we have placed a purchase order for 3 crore doses and have also decided to float a global tender to procure 2 crore additional doses," the Chief Minister said.
Yediyurappa also said that the state government has decided to appoint noted virologist Gagandeep Kang as an adviser on vaccination strategy.
"She (Kang) is a member of several advisory committees for the World Health Organization (WHO), mainly related to research and use of vaccines," Yediyurappa said.
Kang played a significant role in the efforts that culminated in the development of Rotavac, a vaccine from Bharat Biotech International that targets diarrhoea.
According to the Chief Minister, the Union government has supplied 1.10 crore doses to the state, of which 99.5 lakh are Covishield while 10.9 lakh are Covaxin vaccines.
He said that about 14.87 lakh beneficiaries have completed six weeks after taking the first dose of Covishield and are eligible for the second shot, whereas 5.10 lakh beneficiaries have completed four weeks after taking the first jab of Covaxin.
The Chief Minister said that it is necessary to complete the second dose as early as possible to give full protection to the people who have taken the first shot.
"Therefore, we have decided to utilise the entire stock available with us for administering the second dose to the eligible beneficiaries. A total of 19.97 lakh people were eligible for the second dose as on May 12," he said.
The state government had on Wednesday announced suspension of the vaccination drive for the 18-44 age group due to shortage of vaccines. It said the available stock will be used to vaccinate people who are due for the second dose.