India presents a dismal picture due to Covid vaccine shortage

New Delhi:  The much touted rollout of India’s covid vaccine campaign has hit a blind alley with most of the Indian states including Maharastra and  its financial capital, Mumbai, demanding more doses as India is draining out its stock rapidly following which a verbal tug of war has been started between the ruling and the opposition parties.

The imposition of Night Lockdown in many Indian cities has led to exodus of migrants from various Indian States fearing optics of 2020 complete lockdown along with starvation and unemployment.

Mumbai city in Indian State of Maharastra has been the worst hit.  Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar  said (Friday 9th April) that several vaccination center’s  have run out of vaccine leading to a halt in the vaccination drive.

Speaking to this reporter from Mumbai, Bhupendra Gupta, General Secretary, Maharastra Paradesh Congress Committee, lambasted at the Centre accusing it of giving a step-motherly treatment to the Indian State. “Sadly, many have returned without the jab as the vaccination centres had ;no vaccine’ boards on display, “ Mr Gupta said and added that it was prudent if the Modi government  acted with compassioin and came up with tangible solutions to help alleviating the misery of the common man.

India’s health minister Harsh Vardhan is denying any vaccine shortage while the largest manufacturer of Covishield, Serum Institute of India (SII) has  officially stated that it needs over 3,00,000 US dollars to continue with its supply.  Its export vaccine AstraZeneca, has already been put on hold in European countries including Spain, Italy, Denmark and Germany after the vaccine beneficiaries were found to have developed  blood clots.  

The Congress party in opposition is accusing (BJP), the ruling party, of mishandling the vaccine distribution and fudging the figures of fresh covid infections that have jumped the 1,50,000 mark.

Indian journalist and analyst Manavi Kapur on internet site of Quartz India pointed out that  India’s subject expert committee (SEC) on Covid-19 vaccines has been mercurial about granting emergency use authorisations. The committee granted Covaxin a restricted approval even without phase 3 trial data, and allowed Covishield to be used despite a lack of India-specific trial data.

But the same leeway has not been granted to Sputnik V, the Russian coronavirus vaccine. The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), Russia’s sovereign wealth fund that has partnered with Indian pharmaceutical company Dr Reddy’s for trials in India, has also received interest from several Indian drug makers to produce its Sputnik V vaccine. Nearly five companies in India have tied up with RDIF, the latest being Panacea Biotech for 100 million doses.r Reddy’s and RDIF have also lined up 250 million doses for India’s population over the next 12 months if the vaccine were to be approved.

The surge in Covid cases is questioning the effectiveness of the vaccines after beneficiaries of two doses have been detected covid infections. The social media on internet has thrown open a debate on why the election were organised when the State and Central governments knew that all Covid guidelines and precautionary measures would be flouted.

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Nitin Saxena
Nitin Saxena is a Senior Journalist who dabbled into Films and Academics before coming back to Journalim as a Columnist and Communication consultant

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