What is the cause of vaccine shortage in India?

Recently prime minister started a teeka utsav to promote vaccination in india and control the second wave of covid-19.But in reality the vaccination rate is declining gradually.

The number of doses on 12th April has been 4 million and on 8 may it went down to 2million.

Herd immunity stage in a country can be reached when there is 70% of population gets vaccinated. Actually herd immunity is a stage when the spread of the virus diminishes.

The time to vaccinate the first dose to 70% of population, it may take more than a year and to vaccinate the second dose it may take more than 8 years.Some of the source say that vaccine plan from the central government of India has been unsuccessful. Indian medical association also criticise the vaccination plan of government.

The biggest problem in india is shortage of supply vaccines as though india called the vaccine factory of the world. Despite of being vaccine factory of the world, mant of states in India failed to meet the target for the vaccination program. Due to vaccines storages Odisha had to close 60% of its vaccination centers. Karnataka state announced the only people above 45 are eligible for vaccination. Even though Central government had announced in its policy that the people of aged 18 to 45 are eligible.

The people in southern states have registered in cowin app but there were no vaccine centers.

There are some factors which can be responsible for the shortage.

Lower manufacturing capacity :

The two companies which are producing vaccines in india are Having lesser manufacturing capacity. In 2020 December the government of India announced that it is aiming 300 million vaccinations by July 2021. We know for a person we require to doses to get fully vaccinated. We need 600 million doses for 300 million Indians.

The average vaccine wastage in March 2021 is 6.5%. by this we will need 640 million doses instead of 600 million and administer them in 6 months. This means india needs 100.million doses per month.

The manufacturing capacity of serum institute and bharat biotech is 7.5 million doses . it will reach 110 million by July. We also need to know that not every dose from serum institute belongs to india. It has to supply 40% of its dosed to COVAX, which is a initiative by WHO, UNCEF, and other organisations and aims to supply vaccines to more than 90 poor countries.as per demand for vaccines in india, serum institute may fall short of its commitment to COVAX.

Apart from this, even the Russian vaccine is approved by India can’t change the situation because its monthly capacity is just 5 million roses and it will be delivered from may. So many experts says that governments aim of vaccinating 300 million Indians has failed before it started.

Lack of order to the companies:

First, india does not have enough money to place the advance order and government should not have thought amidst the pandemic that they should have placed an advance order. As this didn’t happen, it impacted our vaccination drive. If it is true then it’s a bad image for the government. CEO from serum institute said that company didn’t increase its capacity because there was no order from the government.

Second, that the government thought that as the first wave have has ended india is out of danger. Hence, india exported it’s vaccine to other countries under the vaccine maitri program.

India exported more vaccines than it administered to its own people. The government hasn’t been placed any advance order and when it did place they were small sized. For example, India placed its first order in January for 16.5 million doses and in February only 15.5 million.

When the second wave hit India in March 2021, the government places its biggest order of 120. All there combined adds up to 150million doses, which can only cover 10% of the Indian population. The common people of India have to pay for the governments poor planning.

Serum institute said vaccine shortage will be there till July 2021, this can be  leads to increase in waves of covid-19.

Prof K Vijay Raghavan, the principal scientific advisor to the centre of said that India stands at risk of the third wave. The reason could be slow vaccination.

India’s vaccination drive has been more complicated when the government announced that the states are responsible for buying the vaccination. Before the vaccine had been transported to states from a central hub, now states have to procure the vaccine on their own. It can affect the transportation of vaccines and slower the vaccination process.

The central government have no discussion with the states before taking its decision. Whether it’s a decision or the vaccination policy the central to has remained silent.

My opinion

  • The government needs to be more transparent and disclose the vaccination policy of India – targets, number of doses ordered from the companies.
  • The government should increase its vaccine production capacity and give financial aid, also give permission to more manufacturers.
  • The government should prepare for the future.

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