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Odisha to import Covid-19 jabs to ramp up vaccination drive

Odisha State Government led by Naveen Patnaik has decided to import vaccines for Covid-19 (Pic: Courtesy Wkimedia Commons)

The Odisha State Government led by Naveen Patnaik has decided to import vaccines for Covid-19. The move comes to check the rapid surge of the Coronavirus pandemic.

The proposal to this effect was approved by the State Cabinet in a meeting chaired by the CM in Bhubaneswar on May 10. As per the decision, the Government will float a global tender soon to procure Covid-19 vaccines from major national and international firms.

Referring to the normalisation of Covid-19 in countries like Israel which was achieved through vaccination of the majority of its people, the State Cabinet underlined the importance of vaccination. It is in light of this it was decided to float global tender to ensure vaccine availability.

With this Odisha has become the fifth State after Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Rajasthan and Maharashtra to float global tenders to procure vaccines for international manufacturers and asked the Centre to exempt imported vaccines from all tax liabilities to reduce the burden on its finances.

In another significant development, the Cabinet also formed a technical team for swift procurement of vaccines and vaccination.

While Odisha is deciding to import vaccines it at present is getting Covishield and Covaxin vaccine produced by the Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech respectively.

Besides this, the State is expecting to get Sputnik V vaccine, invented by Russia’s Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology. The vaccine recently got approval for Central production and use in India.

Another important decision taken yesterday to strengthen Odisha’s preparedness to fight the second wave of Covid-19, the Cabinet approved amendments in Industrial Policy Resolutions 2015 incentivising the production of medical oxygen in the state. Thus it will offer benefits to those manufacturing medical oxygen and containers.

While appreciating the hard work and sacrifices of Covid-19 warriors across the state, the CM expressed heartfelt gratitude to the people for their cooperation in the fight against the pandemic.