For the past two days, Sanjay Kumar has been trying to vaccinate himself and his elderly mother with the coronavirus in Uttar Pradesh, northern India.
“When I called three private hospitals in my neighborhood, I was told that all the hospitals were underdose,” said Dr. Kumar, a social scientist living in Ghaziabad, a suburb of Delhi.
One of them is a 50-bed neighborhood hospital. A front office worker said, “We are not accepting reservations because the vaccine stock is zero and people are fighting for jabs (if they say they are out of stock).” At another hospital where Dr. Kumar failed to ask for an appointment, officials said Wednesday night the dose was insufficient. “We have no choice but to keep people away,” said the employee.
As India tackles the deadly second wave of Covid-19 infections, with an average of more than 90,000 infections daily since April 1, vaccination drivers appear to be struggling.Half a dozen states report Insufficient dose Even if the federal government claims to have enough inventory.
In the western part of Maharashtra, which reports more than half of India’s new infections, vaccination programs appear to be suspended. Local governments state that the current 1.5 million doses last only three days. Vaccination centers have been closed in the capital city of Mumbai and parts of the Kolhapur, Sangri and Satara districts. “If the vaccine doesn’t arrive within three days, we’ll be forced to stop driving,” state health minister Rajesh Taupe told reporters.
Federal Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said the “claim” of vaccine shortage was “totally unfounded,” and he claimed that more than 40 million doses were “in stock or approaching delivery.” There is. He accuses the state of “trying to distract from their poor vaccination efforts by constantly shifting goal posts.” Barudan believes that the states complaining of shortages have not even fully vaccinated their front-line workers.
That may not be entirely true. According to Oommen C Kurian of the Observer Research Foundation, a Delhi-based think tank, vaccine shortages are a reality in some states that have been able to vaccinate quickly. He told me that the shortage could be caused by “a discrepancy between the claimed production capacity of Indian vaccine makers and the actual production in the last four months or so.”
The world’s largest vaccination drive in India begins on January 16 and aims to cover 250 million people by July. Initially limited to healthcare professionals and frontline staff, it was gradually expanded to people over the age of 60. People between the ages of 45 and 59 who have other illnesses. And more than 45.
To date, more than 90 million doses have been given to the vaccine developed by AstraZeneca in collaboration with the University of Oxford (Covishield) and two approved vaccines developed by the Indian company Bharat BioTech (Covaxin). An average of 3 million jabs are given daily.Also, India has shipped so far Inoculated 64 million doses of vaccine in 85 countries. Some are in the form of “gifts”, others are in line with a commercial agreement signed between the vaccine manufacturer and the recipient country, and the rest are under the World Health Organization (WHO) -led Covax scheme. ..
When it comes to vaccine production, India is a big power. It has a large vaccination program, produces 60% of the world’s vaccines, and has half a dozen major manufacturers, including the world’s largest Serum Institute of India. However, large-scale adult vaccination programs against pathogenic pathogens such as SARS-Cov2, the virus that causes Covid-19, poses unprecedented challenges.
For one thing, experts say that vaccination drives need to increase their pace to reach that goal. It is not clear if the country has sufficient vaccines and state capabilities to expand its drive.
As many speculate, the key question is whether India has enough dose stock to speed up the drive and expand coverage to include young people. Some people are wondering if India did the right thing by sending millions of doses abroad as part of its highly hyped “vaccine diplomacy.”
The Serum Institute of India, which manufactures the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, locally known as Covishield, has provided some clues. This week, the company’s production capacity is “extremely stressed.” “We still can’t supply all Indians,” Adar Punawara, the company’s head, said in an interview on Indian television.
Serum provides India with 65 to 70 million doses per month and states that it has exported about the same amount of dose in total since it went into production earlier this year.
In January, the company told the BBC that it was aiming to increase its monthly production to 100 million. By the end of June, it took a long time to repair the damage, so the goal could not be achieved. Fire at the facility In January in the western city of Pune. Later, Mr. Punawara said, “for the multiple production buildings I had reserved to deal with such contingencies,” there would be no impact on the production of Kobishield.
According to the company, fiscal pressure is also hampering the willingness to increase production. Poonawala is seeking $ 400 million (£ 290 million) in government support or bank lending to invest in capacity expansion. Serum sells vaccine doses to the Government of India for $ 2, “this rate is not enough to sustain further expansion,” he says.
“This is not a budget and was not originally planned. [more] Raise funds from the exporting country. Now that’s not happening and we have to find other innovative ways to build our capabilities. That way, we can help our country in the light of the surge in incidents, “Punawara said. NDTV.
Obviously, the “deficiency” of Indian vaccines has global implications.
Last month in India Temporarily suspend all exports Oxford-AstraZeneca Coronavirus Vaccine. Serum states that it shipped 30 million shipments to Covax in January and February. This is half the capacity, but currently there is a shortage of “30-40 million”. [export] dose”.
“We told them the need [for doses] India is so harsh that we need to prioritize India’s needs over exports. ” CNBC-TV18. He also told the Business Standards newspaper: AstraZeneca was sending a “legal notice” to his company (Because of the delayed supply of vaccines) and the Government of India is aware of it. “
Experts say vaccine shortages in parts of India may be due to supply bottlenecks. Vaccine makers could also have “oversold” their capabilities while receiving orders from around the world. “As the number of cases increases and the number of vaccine repellents decreases, the demand for doses increases. We need to make better plans,” says a senior official who preferred to remain unnamed. ..
At the moment, India doesn’t have many options. The new vaccine (probably Sputnik V) will be approved by June. CovovaxAnother coronavirus vaccine being developed by the Serum Institute in collaboration with American vaccine developer Novabax is not expected to be available by September.
Therefore, India should prioritize jabs. The only way to reduce the number of people dying from Covid-19 is to quickly provide shots to more than 120 million seniors in India. This needs to be done in the coming weeks, with the help of civil society, including local governments and religious leaders, and underpinned by focused communication campaigns, Kleen said.