A beneficiary will be vaccinated by medical staff on January 16, 2021 in Pune, India, during a vaccination campaign against Covid-19 across India at Aundh District Hospital.
Pratham Gokhale | Hindustan Times | Getty Images
India reported more than 100,000 new Covid-19 cases in 24 hours for the third time this week as the most populous country in South Asia pushes its vaccination campaign.
126,789 new cases were reported on Thursday. according to government data. Over 80% of these cases came from ten states, including the hardest-hit western state of Maharashtra, which is home to India’s financial capital, Mumbai.
Since the beginning of April, India has reported more than 779,000 cases, with Maharashtra accounting for just over half.
Local authorities in Maharashtra have tightened restrictions, including night curfews that allow only essential services to remain open. Other states are also increasing the restrictions preventively as concerns about possible shortages of hospital beds and doctors increase.
India’s mass vaccination campaign, which began in January, has accelerated in recent weeks. From April everyone over 45 will be eligible for their recordings. Government data showed that more than 90 million doses of vaccine had been administered as of Thursday.
But this week’s media reports said so Several states, including Maharashtra, have warned they are running out of vaccine supplies at a crucial point where cases are rising rapidly.
In response, the Indian government accused several states, including Maharashtra, of diverting attention from their failure to control the virus outbreak.
“Vaccine supplies are monitored in real time and state governments are regularly informed,” said Health Secretary Harsh Vardhan said in a statement Wednesday. “Allegations of vaccine shortages are completely unfounded.”
According to Randeep Guleria, director of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences and a member of the Government of India’s Covid-19 Task Force, India makes enough vaccines every month to vaccinate people over 45.
“These vaccines are made and there is enough stock each month. The problem is that they have to be distributed regularly to all areas. When states begin distributing, they have to make sure that they are distributed fairly according to demand.” said Thursday on CNBC “Road signs Asia.“”
“In terms of the actual numbers, if you do the (math) the deficiency isn’t there, it’s the distribution that needs to be done in the right way,” he said.
Guleria added that the situation in Maharashtra, as well as some other states, is such that vaccine intake is high in some areas and vaccine reluctance and stocks are lying around in other areas.
But the Serum Institute of India, which makes one of the two approved vaccines in the country – AstraZenecas Shot, known locally as Covishield – has a different view of things.
Adar Poonawalla, head of the serum institute said Indian media that the company’s production capacity is “very stressed”. He said the vaccine maker will need about $ 400 million to increase capacity by June.
He told Business Standard that AstraZeneca had sent the Serum Institute a legal notice about delays in delivering vaccines overseas. In February, Poonawalla said that his company had been run Prioritizing India’s vaccine needs and asking foreign governments to be patient.
Guleria said other vaccine-making manufacturers are being tapped to increase production. He added that India could soon approve a third vaccine – the Russia-made Sputnik V, made by pharmaceutical company Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories is manufactured.