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Top Indian vaccine maker’s production capacity is reportedly ‘stressed’ as Covid-19 cases rise

A beneficiary will get vaccinated by well being workers throughout a pan India Covid-19 vaccination drive at Aundh district hospital, on January 16, 2021 in Pune, India.

Pratham Gokhale | Hindustan Times | Getty Images

India reported greater than 100,000 new Covid-19 cases over a 24-hour interval for the third time this week as South Asia’s most populous nation pushes forward with its vaccination marketing campaign.

There had been 126,789 new cases reported on Thursday, in response to authorities information. Over 80% of these cases had been from ten states together with the hard-hit western state of Maharashtra, dwelling to India’s monetary capital, Mumbai.

Since the beginning of April, India has reported greater than 779,000 cases, with Maharashtra accounting for simply over half of them.

Local authorities in Maharashtra have stepped up restrictions, together with night time curfews the place solely important providers are allowed to stay open. Other states are additionally preemptively growing restrictions as worries mount over a possible scarcity in hospital beds and medical doctors.

Vaccine scarcity

India’s mass inoculation marketing campaign, which started in January, has accelerated in latest weeks. Starting in April, anybody over 45 is eligible for his or her pictures. Government information confirmed as of Thursday, greater than 90 million vaccine doses have been administered.

But, media experiences this week stated that a number of states, together with Maharashtra, have warned that they’re operating out of vaccine inventory at an important juncture the place cases are climbing quickly.

In response, the Indian authorities accused some states, together with Maharashtra, of diverting consideration away from their failure to manage the virus outbreak.

“Vaccine supplies are being monitored on a real-time basis, and State governments are being apprised regularly about it,” Health Minister Harsh Vardhan stated in a press release Wednesday. “Allegations of vaccine shortage are utterly baseless.”

Proper distribution wanted

India is manufacturing sufficient vaccines per 30 days to inoculate folks over the age of 45, in response to Randeep Guleria, director of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, and a member of the Indian authorities’s Covid-19 activity power.

“These vaccines are being manufactured and there is enough stock on a monthly basis. It’s an issue that they have to be distributed regularly to all areas and as states start distributing, they have to make sure that there is equitable distribution depending upon the demand,” Guleria stated Thursday on CNBC’s “Street Signs Asia.”

“In terms of actual numbers, if you do the (math), the shortage is not there, it’s the distribution that has to be done in a proper manner,” he stated.

Guleria added the scenario in Maharashtra as properly as in a few of different states is such that some areas have a excessive uptake of vaccines and in others, there is vaccine hesitancy and inventory mendacity round.

Serum Institute’s ‘pressured’ production capacity

But the Serum Institute of India, which is manufacturing one of many nation’s two permitted vaccines — AstraZeneca’s shot, identified regionally as Covishield — has a distinct view of issues.

Serum Institute boss Adar Poonawalla informed Indian media that the corporate’s production capacity is “very stressed.” He stated the vaccine producer wants about $400 million to ramp up capacity by June.

He revealed to the Business Standard that AstraZeneca despatched Serum Institute a authorized discover for delays in supplying vaccines overseas. In February, Poonawalla stated that his firm had been directed to prioritize India’s vaccine wants and requested overseas governments to be affected person.

Guleria stated that different producers who make vaccines are being tapped to chip in and assist step up production. He added that India may quickly approve a 3rd vaccine — the Russian-made Sputnik V, which will probably be produced by pharmaceutical agency Dr Reddy’s Laboratories.

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Updated on April 19, 2021 6:44 am

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