Covid in India: Vaccines supply delayed as country set to start jab programme
Two Indian companies producing vaccines have told most states they are unlikely to get supply over coming weeks.
With less than three days for the start of India’s ambitious Covid vaccination programme for all in the 18-44 age group, there are fears that it is unlikely to materialise for a few weeks because of an acute shortage of vaccines.
The two Indian companies currently producing anti-Covid vaccines – Serum Institute of India (SII) and Bharat Biotech – have told most states eager to start getting supplies from May 1 that they are unlikely to get the stuff over the coming weeks.
Rajesh Tope, Maharashtra’s health minister, said that SII had told the state government that the vaccines would not be available before May 20. Maharashtra wants 120 million vaccines from the company.
In the case of Chhattisgarh, one of the worst-hit states in India, the situation is even bad. T.S. Singh Deo, the health minister, told Economic Times that the government had placed orders for 2.5 million doses each of Covishield (by SII) and Covaxin (Bharat Biotech).
Earlier, the state government had been told it would get Covishield by May 20, “but now new timelines have been indicated and we have been told we will get it only in July,” said the minister.
Giridhar Gyani, director-general, Association of Healthcare Providers, warns of another crisis unfolding from May 1 in India as there is no certainty about the supply of vaccines. Barely 10 per cent of the population has been vaccinated so far and there is uncertainty about supplies from next month when millions of those aged between 18 and 44 are entitled to get vaccinated.
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