The world’s biggest vaccine producer is running out of Covid-19 vaccines, as second wave accelerates By Jessie Yeung and Esha Mitra, Updated 0447 GMT (1247 HKT) April 18, 2021 Video shows pilgrims flock to Ganges River despite surge in cases Myanmar’s control of Covid-19 collapses after coup Last week, coronavirus killed 3 people every minute in Brazil ‘Medical marvel’: Mom got pregnant while already pregnant Growing concerns over Tokyo Olympics Covid-19 safety measures ()In India, the world’s biggest vaccine producer, millions of people are waiting for Covid-19 vaccines amid a devastating second wave of infections. India typically produces more than 60% of all vaccines sold globally, and is home to the Serum Institute of India (SII), the world’s largest vaccine maker. Its vast manufacturing capability is why the country signed on as a major player in COVAX, the global vaccine-sharing initiative that provides discounted or free doses for lower-income countries. Under the initial agreement
announced last year, SII would manufacture up to 200 million doses for up to 92 countries. But the situation in India is markedly different from just a few months ago. Its second wave began in March, quickly surpassing the first, which had peaked last September at more than 97,000 coronavirus cases a day. India reports new record of 103,558 daily Covid cases, as second wave and new lockdowns hit On Sunday, the country reported 261,500 new cases — its highest single-day figure so far, according to data from the Indian Ministry of Health. India added a million new cases in less than a week, surpassing 14 million total cases on Thursday. States and cities are imposing new restrictions, including weekend and nighttime curfews in the capital region Delhi, home to 19 million people. Migrant workers are also leaving major cities en masse for their home villages, afraid any potential lockdowns will leave them stranded. And through it all, vaccine supplies have dried up on the ground, with at least five states reporting severe shortages and urging the federal government to act. In the face of crisis, the government and SII have shifted focus from
“because they want to prioritize for the most vulnerable and needy segments first,” SII CEO Adar Poonawalla. But these repeated delays have hit poor countries hard. The director of Africa’s disease control body warned India’s hold on exports could be “catastrophic” for the continent — while Pakistan, one of the biggest program recipients, decided to allow private vaccine imports and sales to fill the gap. Vaccination centers turning people away India is administering two vaccines domestically: the Oxford-AstraZeneca one, also known as Covishield, and its homegrown Covaxin, developed jointly by Bharat Biotech and the government-run Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) The country started its vaccination program in January for health care workers and priority groups, with the goal of fully inoculating 300 million people by August. But the program had a sluggish start, facing logistical issues as well as vaccine hesitancy among the population — especially towards Covaxin, which was approved for emergency use before the efficacy data of its third phase trial were released. To date,
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