India’s official Covid-19 death toll crossed the 250,000 mark on Wednesday after reporting a record 4,205 deaths as the second deadly wave of the pandemic continues to rise across the country, while several states report vaccine shortages.
According to data released by the Government of India on Wednesday, the official number of Covid-19 deaths in the country now stands at 254,197, while its total number of reported cases has increased more than 23 million, both numbers believed to be severe lower counts.
As the second wave continues to rise, several states across the country have begun to report vaccine shortages that have forced them to launch global tenders to import more jabs.
A possible solution to India’s severe vaccine shortage was offered by the country’s top American diplomat, who on Tuesday said Washington was considering co-production of Johnson and Johnson’s Covid vaccine in India.
Daniel B Smith, chargé d’affaires at the U.S. Embassy in India, added that the U.S. is looking for ways to help local vaccine manufacturers like the Serum Institute of India (Sii) boost production.
Smith, however, noted that a large stock of AstraZeneca vaccine manufactured at a plant near Baltimore has not yet been certified by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for export due to manufacturing problems at the plant.
175 million. That is the total number of doses of Covid-19 vaccine that India has administered until Tuesday night, the country’s Ministry of Health said in an official statement. However, only about 38 million Indians have been fully vaccinated against the deadly disease, which is less than 3% of India’s massive population of 1.3 billion people.
WHAT TO KEEP IN MIND
Of the approximately 85 million vaccines India will produce this month, States will only be able to directly purchase 20 million doses from manufacturers to inoculate their population in the 18-44 age group, the country’s federal government told the Supreme Court on Tuesday. States will be allowed to make these purchases on a “flat fee” based on how many people they have in the 18-44 age group. The federal government itself will buy 50% of the 85 million doses produced this month and distribute them among states, while states and private hospitals can directly buy 25% of the doses at higher prices. Doses assigned by the federal government can only be used to inoculate people age 45 and older. The approximately 20 million remaining doses will be sold to private hospitals where patients can pay to receive their vaccines. The federal government’s complicated vaccine distribution process, which includes tiered prices, has been harshly criticized.