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India expands vaccination efforts to combat the surge in infections

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New Delhi (Reuters)-India will expand its coronavirus vaccination campaign from April 1 to target everyone over the age of 45, the minister said Tuesday.

File photo: Sanitary worker Eswar Jani, 31, manufactured by the Indian Serum Institute during the world’s largest COVID-19 vaccination campaign at the Mazarupat Community Health Center in the remote Corrupt district of the eastern province. I received COVISHIELD, a COVID-19 vaccine. January 16, 2021, Orissa, India. REUTERS / Danish Siddiqui

Information Minister Prakashjabadekar added that India, the world’s largest vaccine maker, donated or exported more than 60 million vaccines, but only injected 49 million domestically, so there was no shortage.

“Our appeal is that everyone over the age of 45 should be vaccinated as soon as possible,” Javadekar added, adding that the last 24 hours of vaccination have reached record after the cabinet meeting.

“There is no shortage and the supply chain and supply line are intact,” he said, adding that sufficient vaccine doses were available.

Currently, only the elderly and those over the age of 45 suffering from other health conditions are eligible for vaccination. Healthcare workers and frontline workers were the first to line up when India began driving in mid-January.

India has the third highest number of infections after the United States and Brazil, and in the second surge, many states have asked the government to replenish their vaccine inventory.

Sudden demand is putting pressure on vaccine makers Serum Institute of India (SII) and Bharat Biotech to increase production. SII has already postponed further shipments of AstraZeneca vaccine to Brazil, the United Kingdom, Morocco and Saudi Arabia.

Eastern Orissa warned the Ministry of Health on Monday that vaccine inventory is expected to be exhausted by March 30, and another batch of AstraZeneca vaccine, known domestically as Covishield, will only be available on April 2. Will arrive.

In a letter reviewed by Reuters, state health official PK Mohapatra said, “I will not be vaccinated for four days.”

“Therefore, the right dose of Covishield vaccine may be delivered in time to continue the uninterrupted vaccination drive.”

The ministry did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the letter.

Record vaccinations

Overall vaccination has reached daily records in India, and the Ministry of Health reports 3.2 million vaccinations in the last 24 hours in an effort initiated after the United Kingdom, China and the United States.

India, which aims to vaccinate 300 million out of 1.35 billion people by August, is the third largest in the world after China and the United States, but the number of vaccinations per capita is higher. Is also low. Here show.

Many states want to expand their campaigns to all adults after an increase in infections since late February, when the economy fully resumed, but most people still don’t wear masks and society. I’m ignoring the distance advice.

In some states, vaccines are also given to a small number of people outside the priority group to avoid wasting the vaccine.

Health officials said last week that about 6.5% of India’s vaccine doses were wasted, and that it was imperative for healthcare professionals to regulate the flow.

India will also soon approve the emergency use of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine, which will increase its availability.

India has reported 40,715 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, with Maharashtra, home of the financial capital Mumbai, the richest, accounting for more than 60% of the total. The death toll increased by 199 to 160,166.

Additional reports by Jatindra Dash in Bhubaneswar and Krishna N. Das in New Delhi. Additional reports by Chandini Monnappa, Sachin Ravikumar, Aftab Ahmed, and Rajendra Jadhav. Edited by Christian Schmollinger

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