India overwhelmed with Covid-19 vaccine shortage – PharmaLive


India Overwhelmed With COVID-19 Vaccines

(Reuters; Tanvi Mehta, Chandini Monnappa, Shilpa Jamkhandikar, Adnan Abidi)

Several states in India are running out of COVID-19 vaccines, exacerbating a disastrous second wave of infections that has left hospitals and mortuaries overwhelmed as families scramble for more medicine and oxygen rare.

“Come back home. How will we live without you?” Aanchal Sharma and her stepmother moaned over her husband’s lifeless body, waiting like so many others for their turn in a crematorium on the outskirts of New Delhi.

In the parking lot, more than 10 ambulances containing corpses lined up as workers cleared ashes from pyres that had spilled from the main cremation area.

Second only to the United States in total infections, India has reported more than 300,000 new cases per day for nine consecutive days, hitting another world record of 386,452 on Friday.

The total number of deaths has exceeded 200,000 and cases are near 19 million – nearly 8 million since February alone, as new virulent strains have combined with “super-spread” events such as rallies. political and religious holidays.

Medical experts say the real numbers may be five to ten times the official count. Patients have demanded places in hospitals when oxygen tanks are scarce and in demand.

Despite being the world’s largest vaccine producer, India does not have enough for itself – which undermines a plan to increase and expand immunization from Saturday.

Only about 9% of its 1.4 billion people received a dose.

“I signed up for a slot 28 days before, but now they say there are no vaccines,” complained Jasmin Oza on Twitter.


India has struggled to increase its capacity beyond 80 million doses per month due to lack of raw materials and a fire at the Serum Institute, which makes the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) relief supplies from the United States are seen on the tarmac after being unloaded from a US Air Force plane at the cargo terminal at Indira Gandhi International Airport from New Delhi, India on April 30, 2021. Prakash Singh / Pool via REUTERS

Authorities in the financial capital Mumbai said vaccination centers had been closed for three days, while Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal told citizens not to show up for vaccinations on Saturday as doses were missing. not yet arrived.

Karnataka state, home to the Bengaluru technology center, has postponed its new vaccination campaign for adults which was due to start on Saturday.

However, officials in Gujarat state, west of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, said vaccinations for people between the ages of 18 and 45 would begin in the worst affected districts on Saturday.

And contradicting some of the local governments, the national health ministry said states have 10 million vaccines in stock and 2 million more to come in the next three days.

Modi met his cabinet on Friday, which recognized a “once-in-a-century” crisis in India.

With India’s healthcare system skyrocketing and absenteeism from the workplace – as staff fall ill or take care of loved ones – international aid has started to pour in.

A first American rescue flight with oxygen cylinders, regulators, rapid diagnostic kits, masks and pulse oximeters has arrived.

“Just as India came to our aid at the start of the pandemic, the United States has pledged to work urgently to provide assistance to India in times of need,” the Secretary of State tweeted. American Antony Blinken.

Washington is sending more than $ 100 million in supplies and has rerouted its own AstraZeneca vaccine order to India, providing an additional 20 million doses.

Britain, Ireland and Romania also sent aid, and a first batch of Russian Sputnik V vaccine was due on Saturday.


In the streets, the Indians were piling up supplies.

“Everything about oxygen… our sales have doubled,” said the owner of a medical store Vipul Garg in the state of Uttar Pradesh.

Medicines were running out in some areas.

“People panic a lot. People pile up drugs unnecessarily, even those who don’t need them, ”added another business owner, Sanjay Sharma, also in Uttar Pradesh.

Bringing some hope to the crisis, a team of scientists briefing the Indian government said cases could peak next week from May 3-5 – sooner than originally predicted

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