In a significant move, the West Bengal government has moved the Supreme Court seeking directions to disband the phase 3 of the COVID-19 vaccination policy and instead adopt and implement a uniform vaccination policy by doing away with the differential pricing mechanism. .The Mamata Banerjee led Trinamool Congress government alleged that the country at present is facing an acute shortage of Covid-19 vaccines for achieving universal coverage. "The Government of India must take urgent steps on a war footing basis to ensure that Covid-19 vaccines are made available to the States for free decentralized distribution to the masses without any further delay," the plea said. For ensuring the same, Central government should place a single bulk order for Covid-19 vaccines on a war footing basis on both domestic and foreign manufacturers to ensure universal coverage at the shortest possible time frame, it was contended. ."Disband the “Liberalised and Accelerated Phase 3 Strategy of Covid-19 Vaccination” policy and adopt and implement a uniform policy of procuring 100 percent doses of Covid-19 from 16 vaccine manufacturers which can be equitably distributed to the States and Union Territories for free de-centralized distribution," the plea said. .The State government further prayed that differential pricing mechanism for Covid-19 vaccines should be set aside and the price for Covid-19 vaccines should be capped at a uniform price of Rs. 150 per dose..The plea came by way of an application filed before the top court in the suo motu case initiated by the Court to COVID related issues. As per the application, in order to reach herd immunity, at least 70 percent of the adult population would have to be vaccinated which would require approximately 1.4 billion doses.The current vaccination policy, the application alleged, will result in an inequitable distribution of vaccines and defeat the very objective of universal coverage, which is crucial for achieving herd immunity.This is because States will be made to compete with each other for obtaining vaccines for its residents, it was pointed out. .The State government claimed that it had, on April 29, made formal requisitions/ procurement orders for 1 crore doses of Covishield vaccines to Serum Institute and 1 crore doses of Covaxin to Bharat Biotech at the differential higher price of Rs. 300 and Rs. 600 per dose, respectively..However, no vaccines have been received from the said private manufacturers by the State as the manufacturers are insisting on payments to be credited to them first before making any delivery of vaccines, the plea claimed. .It was further submitted that the government is in the process of making payments for these vaccines to the said private manufacturers and shall complete the payment process at the earliest despite its budgetary constraints but “no delivery schedule has been indicated by the private manufacturers to the government for the supply of these requisitioned vaccines.”.Even USA is giving vaccines at lesser price, why should our citizens pay so much? Supreme Court questions COVID-19 vaccine pricing policy .On the other hand, the State contended that on April 29, one private hospital (Woodlands Nursing Home) in Kolkata managed to receive 25,000 doses of vaccines directly from the private manufacturers and is offering vaccination from its facility.“This asymmetry may become the new norm in the upcoming weeks if the existing vaccine policy for Phase-III is persisted with by the Government of India,” the government submitted. .Moreover, Serum Institute of India (manufacturer of ‘Covishield’) and Bharat Biotech (manufacturer of ‘Covaxin’) had negotiated a price of Rs. 150/- per dose with the Government of India for supplying 50 percent of its vaccines to the Government of India..However, a differential and higher price has been announced by the two vaccine manufacturers for the States i.e. Rs. 400 and Rs. 600 per dose, for Covishield and Covaxin, respectively.Hence, the State government prayed that the differential pricing mechanism should be quashed. "Under the policy, the States are being compelled to buy vaccines at a higher price (Rs. 300 and Rs. 600 per dose for Covishield and Covaxin, respectively) from the open market. Therefore, the cost for vaccinating the 18-45 demographic will be borne by the Individual States or by Individual citizens who can afford to purchase a vaccine from a private hospital (at a high price of Rs. 600 or Rs.1200, for either Covishield or Covaxin, respectively)," it was contended. .The application therefore sought to immediately identify avenues for expanding capacity for vaccine production, both, domestically and globally and also place a single bulk order for Covid-19 vaccines on a war footing basis on both domestic and foreign manufacturers to ensure universal coverage at the shortest possible time frame.