India has added less than one lakh cases for the fourth day in a row while recoveries have risen by 1.34 lakh in the past 24 hours. The number of active cases have fallen by over 46,000 during this period, taking the total number of active cases to 11.21 lakhs.
Over 3,400 people have died from the virus in the last 24 hours, taking the mortality rate to 1.24 percent and the total death toll to 3.63 lakhs. Maharashtra added 1,522 COVID deaths after a reconciliation exercise. The state has now reported 11,617 deaths in the past 24 days.
In India's vaccination drive, 32.74 lakh doses have been administered in the past 24 hours, taking the seven-day average above 30 lakhs. More than 14 percent of the population has now received the first dose of a vaccine, while 3.3 percent has been fully vaccinated, receiving both doses.
Latest genomic sequencing study conducted in Delhi and adjoining states revealed the delta variant of COVID-19 is 50 percent more transmissible than the alpha strain. The viral load of the delta variant also appears to be much higher. The study also found that infections in fully vaccinated individuals were disproportionately higher due to the delta variant.
Doctor NK Arora, Head of the National Vaccine Advisory Group, discussed the second COVID wave, the vaccination drive, and the challenges the new variants of COVID-19 throw up.
Dr Arora is also a member of the National COVID-19 Taskforce. On vaccine supply situation, he said, “We are going to have a sufficient number of vaccine doses and as we enter into the next phase of corona vaccination, starting next week onwards, this relative shortage should disappear.”
“We should have around 30-35 crore doses starting August and the whole objective is that we should be able to immunise about 1 crore people every day. In a month, we should be able to immunize around 30-35 crore people and that is the speed with which the immunization would be envisaged,” he added.
“Covishield is hiking its production capacity. Currently, it is around 6-7 crore doses per month and by the end of this month, they would be producing 12 crore doses. Bharat Biotech, by end of July or the beginning of August, will also be producing 10 crore doses. Sputnik is the other one – around July later part and August beginning we should have anywhere between 3 crore and 5 crore doses per month."
"We have Biological E for which advance payment for 30 crore doses has been made till December. Zydus Cadila vaccine should be launched by the end of this month or somewhere in the middle of next month and would provide about 1-2 crore doses of vaccines per month. Finally, we should have Novavax also ready,” he explained.
“Another important thing we are not realising is that private sector would have many more centres because now 25 percent is available for them. I think we are very placed and we should be able to immunize most of our population before the end of this year,” he mentioned.
For the full interview, watch the accompanying video.