Union health ministry has no info on date, quantity for COVID-19 vaccine orders: RTI

Hyderabad-based activist Vijay Gopal sought information about the orders placed by the government for Covishield and Covaxin from the vaccine manufacturers.

By Newsmeter Network  Published on  3 July 2021 1:28 PM GMT
Union health ministry has no info on date, quantity for COVID-19 vaccine orders: RTI

Hyderabad: In a reply to an RTI query, the Union ministry of health and family welfares (MoHFW) said it does not have any information regarding the date and quantity of COVID-19 vaccine orders placed by the Center.

Hyderabad-based Forum Against Corruption, headed by Vijay Gopal sought information through RTI about the orders placed by the government for Covishield and Covaxin from the vaccine manufacturers. But the Union ministry of health said it did not have any information regarding the orders.

He further sought information about the first date of order and quantity, date of orders placed, expected date of delivery, and so on, but the ministry's reply was the same.

In November 2020, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had visited Bharat Biotech's facility in Hyderabad and the Serum Institute of India (SII) in Pune to review the COVID-19 vaccine development work.

In January 2021, the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) recommended Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech's COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin for restricted emergency use. The same month the DCGI gave its nod to Covishield.

"It is suspicious that the Central government placed the order in January. Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech in November 2020. Why did he go there? Just to take photographs? He should have gone there to place orders for the vaccine. This is his responsibility. But he only took photographs and did nothing," said Mr. Gopal.

Many media reports had said that the Centre placed orders for the vaccine in January and April. "The first order for Covishield and Covaxin was placed in February 2021, a month after they were approved. If the government placed the order in January or April or May it would have shared the information on a piece of paper," added Mr. Gopal.

"It actually happened but they are denying it," he said.

He added that the BJP is extremely good at media management and creating hype about the world's largest vaccination drive but on paper they deny the information. "MoHFW claims it does not have information but that's wrong. I have already appealed to the public information officer of the ministry. I am hoping they will do justice to me," he said.





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