May 16, 2021

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The largest order for a serum vaccine in India covered only 4% of the people


The federal government led by Narendra Modi has not placed an order greater than 110 million doses from the largest domestic maker since sales began in December, according to a person familiar with the matter – only 4% of its 1.4 billion people would suffice. .

The lack of a larger central stock, coupled with the nation’s devastating second wave – daily new cases rising to more than 400,000 on Saturday – is making local state governments scramble and compete with each other in placing orders with manufacturers after the federal government handed over responsibility for purchasing vaccines to them. Last month.

The Serum Institute of India Ltd. , The world’s largest vaccine maker and the country’s main supplier of Covid-19, to keep up with states’ requests, but its production facilities can only produce 60 to 70 million doses per month and could be condensed to 100 million by July, said the person who declined to be identified because the information Especially.

With the world’s fastest growing coronavirus outbreak, India is seeing its healthcare system collapse as it suffers from shortages of everything from hospital beds to oxygen cylinders. Although the country is one of the world’s largest vaccine makers, domestic supply has run out amid expanding access to everyone 18 years of age or older, leading to a liability pass game between manufacturers and government officials.

Serious threats

Tensions soared that the illustrious Serum chief, running Poonawala, fled to London in part to escape dangerous threats from people desperate to get vaccinations, he said in an interview with The Times over the weekend.

The country will likely face a shortage of Covid-19 vaccines through July, Poonawala told the Financial Times in an interview on Sunday, as the vaccine ramped up.

“Everyone really felt that India was starting to turn the tide on the epidemic,” Bunawala told the UK-based British daily news newspaper. “There were no requests, we didn’t think we needed to deliver more than a billion doses a year.”

A Serum spokesperson declined to comment on the Covid vaccine order book.

Delegating responsibility to state governments for purchasing urgent medical supplies is similar to what the administration of former US President Donald Trump did last year when the world’s largest economy faced an explosive outbreak: countries were forced to compete for important equipment such as respirators and masks.

Prolonging misery

A slowdown in vaccine purchases risks prolonging misery in the world’s second-hard-hit country which is seeing the number of Covid-related deaths soar to unprecedented levels, flooding hospitals and crematoriums alike. Vaccines can prevent severe infections that cause hospitalization and deaths, thus relieving pressure on the healthcare system.

Opening the vaccination program to everyone over the age of 18 – with no stock – exacerbated the shortage, with many state governments halting vaccination due to a vaccine shortage. Online registration was opened late last month only for servers to crash as tens of thousands of Indians tried to secure a spot.

Serum is licensed to manufacture Covid footage from AstraZeneca Plc. And Novavax Inc. Of the two, only the Indian government has approved AstraZeneca’s Covishield vaccine for use. Covaxin of Bharat Biotech International Ltd. has also been approved. In India, as well as the Russian company Sputnik V.

Poonawala said in the Financial Times report that the Serum Institute was “shamed by politicians and critics because of the vaccine shortage,” noting that the government, not the company, is responsible for the policy.

– With the help of Devidutta Tripathy.