Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has not placed an order for more than 110 million doses from the largest local COVID-19 vaccine maker, sources at Bloomberg News say, enough for just 4% of India’s population.
The federal government led by Narendra Modi has not placed an order for more than 110 million doses from the largest local manufacturer since sales began in December, according to a person familiar enough with the matter for only 4% of its population. 1.4 billion people.
The lack of a larger central stockpile, coupled with a devastating second wave in the country, new daily cases jumped by more than 400,000 on Saturday, now forcing local state governments to scramble and compete to spend orders from manufacturers after the federal government transferred responsibility. to buy them vaccines last month.
Serum Institute of India Ltd., the world’s largest vaccine maker and the country’s main supplier of Covid-19 vaccines, is rushing to keep up with state orders, but its production facilities can only produce 60-70 million doses per month and can reach 100 million. in July, said the person who declined to be identified because the information is private.
India, with the world’s fastest growing coronavirus outbreak, is seeing its healthcare system collapse as it runs out of everything from hospital beds to oxygen cylinders. Although the country is one of the largest vaccine manufacturers in the world, the local supply has dried up against a backdrop of expanding access to all older people18 and above, which has led to a of pass-the-buck between manufacturers and government officials.
Tensions have escalated to the point that flamboyant Serums chairman Adar Poonawalla fled to London in part to escape menacing threats from people desperate to get vaccinated, he said in an interview with the UK. Uni The Times over the weekend.
The country is expected to face shortages of Covid-19 vaccines through July, Poonawalla told the Financial Times in an interview on Sunday, as Serum ramps up its capacity.
Everyone really thinks India has started to turn the tide of the pandemic, Poonawalla told the UK daily. There were no orders, we didn’t think we had to manufacture more than a billion doses per year.
A spokesperson for Serum declined to comment on its Covid vaccine order book.
Shifting responsibility to state governments for procuring urgent medical supplies is like what the administration of former US President Donald Trumps did last year when the world’s largest economy faced an epidemic explosive: States were forced to bid on crucial equipment such as ventilators and masks.
Slow vaccine purchases risk prolonging misery in the second worst-affected country in the world, which has seen its Covid-related death toll reach unprecedented levels, overwhelming hospitals and crematoriums. Vaccines can prevent serious infections that lead to hospitalizations and deaths, relieving pressure on the health care system.
Opening the vaccination program to all people over 18 without a stock in place has exacerbated the shortages, with many state governments halting vaccination citing the shortage of vaccines. Online registrations opened at the end of last month only to have servers go down as tens of thousands of Indians scrambled for a spot.
Serum is licensed to manufacture Covid injections from AstraZeneca Plc. and Novavax Inc. Of the two, the Indian government has only approved the use of the AstraZenecas Covishield vaccine. Covaxin from Bharat Biotech International Ltd. is also approved in India, as is Russias Sputnik V.
Serum Institute has been decried by politicians and critics over vaccine shortages, Poonawalla said in the FT report, stressing that the government, not the company, was responsible for the policy.
With the help of Devidutta Tripathy.
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