Parts of India Run Out of Vaccines amid Harrowing Coronavirus Surge

Barriers are seen outside a Covid-19 coronavirus vaccination centre after vaccination was closed for three days due to shortage of vaccine supplies, in Mumbai on April 30, 2021. (Photo by Punit PARANJPE / AFP) (Photo by PUNIT PARANJPE/AFP via Getty Images)
PUNIT PARANJPE/AFP via Getty Images

All Chinese coronavirus vaccine centers in Mumbai will close for three days starting April 30 due to a shortage of vaccines, municipal government authorities announced Friday.

“The BMC [Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation] will not hold any vaccination camp on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday because existing stock has been exhausted. With this, the civic body is likely to postpone its vaccination drive for 18-44 age category beyond May 1 [sic],” Mumbai city officials said in a statement.

There are 63 civic-run Chinese coronavirus vaccination centers in Mumbai along with 73 centers run by private hospitals, according to the Press Trust of India.

Mumbai is the capital of the western Indian state of Maharashtra. It is India’s largest city and home to a population of 20 million. The coronavirus vaccine shortage has affected not just Mumbai, India’s financial center, but most of Maharashtra, along with several other states. The Indian states of Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and the national capital territory of Delhi all announced Friday that they were forced to cancel coronavirus vaccine drives planned for May 1 because they “do not have adequate vaccine doses,” the Hindustan Times reported April 30.

India has been battling an extreme surge in new Chinese coronavirus cases and deaths from the disease nationwide over the past month. The country was already suffering from a coronavirus vaccine shortage due to insufficient raw materials in early April, according to local reports. Some state-run health clinics in the northern Indian state of Assam were forced to turn away patients seeking a second dose of coronavirus vaccines due to a lack of supply on April 13, the Times of India reported.

India, home to nearly 1.4 billion people, reported 386,452 new daily cases of the Chinese coronavirus on April 30 along with an additional 3,498 deaths from the disease, according to data from India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

“[M]edical experts believe actual Covid-19 [Chinese coronavirus] numbers in the world’s second-most populous nation may be five to 10 times greater than the official tally” due to under-testing and under-reporting, Reuters noted on Friday.

“The vaccine rollout is already nightmarish,” Dr. Amir Ullah Khan, research director at the Center for Development Policy and Practice, a think tank based in Hyderabad, India, told the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) on April 30. “It is not a secret that we have run out of supplies.”

Maharashtra will not receive fresh supplies of Chinese coronavirus vaccines until after May 20, the state’s health minister, Rajesh Tope, said this week.

“Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand states are all running low on vaccines, health officials said during a joint press conference on Sunday [April 25]. The health minister of Karnataka, home to the tech hub of Bengaluru, pleaded Friday [April 30] with everyone under the age of 45 to avoid crowding hospitals over the weekend because inventories are low,” WSJ reported.

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