US-based COVID-19 vaccine manufacturer Moderna has refused to send vaccines directly to the Punjab government stating that it only deals with the Centre, a senior state official said on Sunday.
Punjab's nodal officer for vaccination Vikas Garg said according to Chief Minister Amarinder Singh's directions, all vaccine manufacturers were approached for direct purchase of Covid vaccines including Sputnik V, Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson.
A reply was received only from Moderna wherein the company refused to deal with the state government, he said.
According to Moderna's policy, it deals with the government of India and not with any state government or private parties, the Punjab government said in a statement.
Earlier, CM Singh had directed officials to explore possibilities of floating a global tender for the procurement of vaccines from all possible sources to ensure that people of the state are vaccinated against COVID-19 at the earliest.
Notably, Punjab was forced to stop vaccination for phase 1 and phase 2 categories because of the non-availability of vaccine doses.
All efforts would be made for the procurement of vaccines to meet the acute shortage in the state, which had received fewer than 44 lakh vaccine doses so far from the government of India, the statement said.
From the government of India's allocation for phase 3 (18-44 age group), the state government has been able to buy only 4.2 lakh vaccine doses, including 66,000 received on Saturday, Garg said.
A total of 3.65 lakh have already been used and only 64,000 are left, he said.