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India launches effort to inoculate all adults against COVID – Washington, District of Columbia

Washington, District of Columbia 2021-05-01 11:32:45 –

New Delhi (AP) — India has begun vaccination of all adults in hopes of curbing the huge spike in COVID-19 infection …

New Delhi (AP) — India began vaccination of all adults on Saturday in hopes of curbing a huge surge in COVID-19 infections in the federal government, national vaccine factories, and 1.4 billion of them. Patience.

The world’s largest vaccine maker still lacked a significant supply. This is due to delays in deployment in some states due to manufacturing delays and shortages of raw materials. And even where the shots were in stock, wide economic disparities in the country made access to vaccines inconsistent.

According to experts, only a small part of India’s population can pay the price of shots charged by private hospitals. So while the federal government gives shots to 300 million people, the state immunizes 600 million Indian adults under the age of 45. Healthcare and frontline workers and people over the age of 45.

So far, government vaccines are free and private hospitals are allowed to sell shots for prices up to 250 rupees, or about $ 3. That practice is changing now: the prices of state governments and private hospitals are determined by vaccine companies. In some states, you pay twice as much as the federal government for the same shot, so you may not be able to get the vaccine for free, which could increase the price of private hospitals.

Vaccine makers can benefit more from selling to the private sector as state governments and private companies compete for shots in the same market and the state pays less for doses, a health policy specialty The house, Chandra Cantrahariya, said. The cost is then passed on to the people who receive the shot, increasing injustice.

“There is no logic that two different governments should pay two prices,” he said.

Concerns that pricing issues can increase inequality are only recent issues in India’s sluggish vaccination efforts. Less than 2% of the population is fully immune to COVID-19 and about 10% receive a single dose. Immunization rates are also declining. The average number of shots per day has dropped from 3.6 million in early April to less than 2.5 million now.

In the worst-hit state of Maharashtra, the Minister of Health promised a free vaccine between the ages of 18 and 44, but also admitted that due to lack of dose, vaccination would not start on schedule on Saturday. The state states that one of the reasons for the reduction in vaccination is the lack of shots.

India thought the worst was over when the incident occurred in September. However, according to health experts, mass rallies such as political and religious rallies were allowed to continue, and a relaxed attitude towards risk fueled a major humanitarian crisis. A new variant of the coronavirus has caused a partial surge. The death toll this week has officially exceeded 200,000, and the actual death toll is believed to be much higher.

The lack of national shots has a global impact, as India has promised to ship vaccines abroad as part of the United Nations vaccine sharing program, which depends on its supply, in addition to its vaccination efforts. I will.

Indian vaccine makers receive an estimated 70 million monthly doses of two approved shots, the AstraZeneca vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute of India and the vaccine manufactured by Barrat Biotech.

The federal government buys half of those vaccines to give to the state. The other half can be purchased at state or private hospitals and given to people over the age of 18, but the prices are set by the company.

The federal government buys shots for 150 rupees each, or $ 2. The Serum Institute sells shots to the state for Rs 300, or $ 4, and to private players for Rs 600, or $ 8. Bharat Biotech said it would charge the state 400 rupees, or less than $ 5.50 per shot, and private players 1,200 rupees, or more than $ 16.

By comparison, the European Union paid $ 2.15 per dose for the AstraZeneca vaccine. According to the company, prices are being discounted because the EU has contributed to the development of the vaccine.

Tensions are rising at the Serum Institute. The Serum Institute is not only a major supplier in India, but also an important supplier of the UN-supported initiative known as COVAX, which more than 90 countries depend on. The institute suspended exports in March.

Ravi Gupta, a professor of clinical microbiology at the University of Cambridge, said:

Some experts have warned that large-scale vaccination efforts could exacerbate the surge in more than 19.1 million infections after the United States.

Dr. Bharat Pancania, a senior clinical lecturer specializing in infectious diseases at the University of Exeter, UK, said: He urged India to first stop the circulation of the virus by imposing a “long, lasting, strictly enforced blockade.”

Pancania warned that vaccination efforts alone would not immediately stop the current surge in COVID-19. This is because the shot “starts to bear fruit in about three months.” Vaccination will help prevent a wave of future infections, he said.

The first batch of Sputnik V vaccine that India is importing from Russia arrived on Saturday night. Russia has signed a contract with an Indian pharmaceutical company to distribute 125 million doses.

Given the urgent need for vaccines, some experts have stated that the distribution of available doses is important.

“Vaccines need to be delivered to the most infected areas,” Gupta said, saying that vaccines do not provide doses to all adults across the subcontinent, but are “emergency controls” in certain parts of India. Explained that it should be used as.

Pancania said the widespread image of Indian virus patients gasping for air and smoke from a makeshift funeral crematorium should encourage rich countries to share vaccines more freely. .. He criticized the approach adopted by many Western countries trying to vaccinate all citizens, including low-risk adolescents, before sharing doses.

“It is globally better to vaccinate all (vulnerable) people in need of protection than to vaccinate the entire population in some countries alone,” said Pancania.

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Chen reported from London. Associated Press writers Daria Litvinova of Moscow and Krutika Pathi of New Delhi contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2021 AP communication. all rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written, or redistributed.

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