Top Indian vaccine maker’s production capacity is reportedly ‘stressed’ as Covid-19 cases rise
A beneficiary gets vaccinated by health staff during a pan India Covid-19 vaccination drive at Aundh district hospital, on January 16, 2021 in Pune, India.
India reported more than 100,000 new Covid-19 cases over a 24-hour period for the third time this week as South Asia’s most populous country pushes ahead with its vaccination campaign.
There were 126,789 new cases reported on Thursday, according to government data. Over 80% of those cases were from ten states including the hard-hit western state of Maharashtra, home to India’s financial capital, Mumbai.
Local authorities in Maharashtra have stepped up restrictions, including night curfews where only essential services are allowed to remain open. Other states are also preemptively increasing restrictions as worries mount over a potential shortage in hospital beds and doctors.
India’s mass inoculation campaign, which began in January, has accelerated in recent weeks. Starting in April, anyone over 45 is eligible for their shots. Government data showed as of Thursday, more than 90 million vaccine doses have been administered.
But, media reports this week said that Several states, including Maharashtra, have warned that they are running out of vaccine stock at a critical juncture where cases are climbing rapidly.
In response, the Indian government accused some states, including Maharashtra, of diverting attention away from their failure to control 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 said in a statement Wednesday “Allegations of vaccine shortage are utterly baseless.”
India is manufacturing enough vaccines per month to inoculate people over the age of 45, according to Randeep Guleria, director of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, and a member of the Indian government’s Covid-19 task force.
“These vaccines are being manufactured and there is sufficient 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 said Thursday on CNBC’s”Street Signs Asia.“