The vaccine shortage is hitting the states again. On July 15, many Covid centres in Delhi had to be shut down. Similar woes can be heard from other states too.
In Maharashtra, the health minister complained that due to a shortage of the vaccine stock, centres are operating below their capacity with only 2-3 lakh people being inoculated daily as against the capacity of 15 lakh people. Rajasthan and Punjab have also complained of shortage of vaccine supply due to which Covid centres have had to be shut down in these states.Although the Centre has blamed the states for mismanaging the administration of vaccines given the limited supply, it appears that the Centre itself has mismanaged in anticipating the supply of vaccines from various sources.
In an affidavit to the Supreme Court, the Centre considerably reduced the projected availability of vaccines for the period August-December 2021.
n May, the Centre had projected the availability of nearly 217 crore vaccines over the period August-December 2021. These included vaccines from various manufacturers. These were provisional estimates with the anticipation that vaccines from global pharma companies would be available and domestic production would have been ramped up.
However, after about one-and-a-half-months, in June, this projection has been reduced to 135 crore doses of vaccines. With this, by December-end, India would reach about 173 crore doses of vaccine. In a the Centre had stated that Indian Immunologicals Limited will be in a position to start production of Covaxin from September 2021, while Haffkine Institute and BIBCOL will start production of Covaxin from November021.
The Centre could not devise a proper strategy towards the procurement of vaccines, with estimates not translating into actual availability, which has resulted in the shortages despite India being called the “pharmacy of the world”. Earlier, in March, due to the ill-planned policy, India already had to abruptly discontinue the supply of vaccines to other countries amid its own COVID-19 surge, thus leaving these countries in the lurch.