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30 Apr, 2021 10:10

India’s Covid vaccination program stalls as states run out of doses amid record daily infection rates

India’s Covid vaccination program stalls as states run out of doses amid record daily infection rates

Several Indian states have run out of Covid jabs less than a day before the country was due to kick off a nationwide vaccination drive, as domestic manufacturing shortages hamper supplies amid spiralling infection rates.

The situation has been sparked by the inability of two vaccine manufacturers in the country to produce the necessary vaccine supplies due to a shortage of raw materials, which was hurt further by a fire at the Serum Institute earlier this year.

Mumbai is closing vaccine centres for the next three days due to the lack of jabs, while Karnataka will not begin inoculating adults on May 1. Even the home state of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is struggling to cope with manufacturing delays, pushing back vaccinations for a fortnight until it can get new batches.

As case numbers soar in India, the government had hoped to begin a nationwide vaccination drive, inoculating 300 million high-risk people by August. However, with some states completely out of vaccines, this has been delayed, delivering another blow to the nation’s attempts to control the virus.

India has experienced record high daily infection rates over the past week, as cases rose exponentially, with 386,452 recorded on Friday alone, and medical experts warning the true total could be five to 10 times higher than the numbers reported.

Also on rt.com ‘Wake-up call’: Africa CDC warns continent risks similar Covid crisis to India

Since India began its Covid vaccination scheme in January, only about 9% of the 1.4 billion people living in the country have received a dose, showing the nation is behind the targets outlined by the government.

Modi will meet with his cabinet on Friday, as the government seeks to find a way to boost its vaccination program and cope with the growing financial impact on the country, caused by a rising number of people unable to attend work due to illness or needing to care for a relative.

Countries around the world have sent medical aid, and doses of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine will arrive in India on May 1, marking the first batch of 850 million doses that are set to be part of a deal Moscow signed with five Indian manufacturers.

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