Coronavirus pandemic: Experts discuss India's vaccine commitment

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Doctor Rijo John, Health Economist and a consultant at the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Doctor Chandrakant Lahariya, Epidemiologist and a public policy and health systems expert, discussed the government's vaccine commitment and supply road map.

India has added the lowest number of cases in nearly two months, with 1.27 lakh cases being added in the past 24 hours. During this time, active cases have fallen by 1.3 lakhs, the biggest fall in the past week. Recoveries have also shown an encouraging trend, staying above the two lakh mark for 39 straight days.
In total 2,795 people have died in 24 hours. That is the lowest single-day increase since April 27. However, in terms of deaths per million population among Asian countries, India is second only to Nepal at 238 deaths versus Nepal’s 249 deaths, that according to data from World-O-Meters.
27.8 lakh vaccine doses have been administered during the past 24 hours. This takes the 7-day average of doses administered in India to 23.91 lakhs. With this latest data, India's cumulative vaccine coverage has now exceeded 21.58 crore.
The onset of a second wave coupled with the shortage of vaccines has worsened India's condition in May, as compared to April. The country recorded a 30 percent rise in new cases with 90 lakh cases in May versus 69 lakh cases in April. The monthly death toll saw a whopping jump of 146 percent with 1.2 lakh deaths in May versus over 48,800 deaths in April.
On the contrary, vaccination saw a drop of 32 percent with just 6 crore doses administered in May versus nearly 9 crore doses given in April.
With this pace of vaccination, will the country be able to inoculate all eligible adults by the end of this year? Looking at the government's procurement plan - Serum and Bharat Biotech need to ramp up production from current levels but that is only 60 percent of the vaccine stock budgeted by the government.
About 75 crore vaccine doses of Covishield are expected between August and December. The government estimates 55 crore Covaxin doses from Bharat Biotech. Biological-E or Sputnik, which government estimates supply of 15.6 crore doses, only imports are being factored in now.
So Zydus, Novavax all of these are still in the trial stage without any clarity on regulatory approval. So nearly 40 percent of the vaccines that the government needs to inoculate or hopes to inoculate by the end of this year is yet to even get approval from the regulators to start production on a large scale.
According to Dr NK Arora of the National COVID Task Force supplies are improving and believes the government can easily inoculate one crore people every day starting mid-July.
In other developments, doctors and medical professionals are observing a Black Day in protest against comments from Baba Ramdev where he calls allopathy 'stupid science.' The protest called by the Federation of Resident Doctors Association has also been joined by the AIIMS Resident Doctors Association. They are demanding an unconditional open public apology or action against Ramdev under the relevant sections of the Epidemic Diseases Act.
Doctor Rijo John, Health Economist and a consultant at the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Doctor Chandrakant Lahariya, Epidemiologist and a public policy and health systems expert, discussed more about the government's vaccine commitment and supply road map.
For the full show, watch the accompanying video

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