NEW DELHI: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday said US pharmaceutical giants Pfizer and Moderna have declined to sell coronavirus vaccines to the city government as they want to directly deal with the Centre.
“We have had talks with Pfizer and Moderna. They said they won’t give us vaccine and will directly talk to the Centre,” Kejriwal told reporters.
“I appeal to the central government with folded hands to talk to these firms, import vaccines and distribute them among states,” he added.
The Delhi chief minister’s remarks came a day after a senior Punjab official said Moderna had refused to send vaccines directly to the state government stating that it only deals with the Centre.
Punjab Nodal Officer for vaccination Vikas Garg, had on Sunday, COVID vaccine manufacturer Moderna has refused to send vaccines directly to the Punjab government stating that according to their policy, they only deal with the Government of India and not with any state government or private parties.
Kejriwal said the second wave of COVID-19 is declining gradually and the city government has started preparations for the third wave.
“We have imported 6,000 oxygen cylinders from China. Three depots with 2,000 each are being created. These will be used in case of a third wave. MEA (Ministry of External Affairs) and Indian Embassy in Beijing help us greatly, else this was not possible,” he said.
In an online briefing, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia also said Pfizer and Moderna had refused to sell coronavirus vaccines directly to the Delhi government.
He said all the 400 vaccination sites for the 18-44 age group have been closed in Delhi after the vaccine stock was over, while the centres administering Covaxin to the 45+ age group, healthcare workers and frontline workers too have been shut due to unavailability of jabs.
Stressing that vaccination is the need of the hour to protect people against the coronavirus, Sisodia said they have spoken to Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson and Johnson for vaccines.
“Pfizer and Moderna have refused to sell us directly saying they are talking to the Centre. The Centre has not approved Pfizer and Moderna whereas the world over they have been approved and bought by countries,” he said.
Sisodia said some countries bought vaccines in advance while these were in trial stage but India did not take any step in that direction.
“We refused approval to Sputnik in 2020 and approved it only last month or us it’s just a game,” he said.
The deputy chief minister urged the Centre to approve Pfizer and Moderna on war footing.
“I urge the Centre not to make this vaccination programme a joke. Approve Pfizer and Moderna on war footing, rather than asking states to approach these companies. It should not happen that by the time we get vaccines, the time comes that even the antibodies of those who have been vaccinated are finished and they will again require vaccination,” he said.
(With ANI Inputs)