Nearly 13.3 million people applied for vaccinations on the first day of registration, according to a special government website, CoWIN. But before expanded deployment, many countries said they did not have enough supply.
CNN confirmed at least seven states or union territories where Saturday̵
During a press conference on Friday, Delhi’s chief minister, Arvind Keirival, urged citizens not to line up for gunshots, as the union’s territory, which includes the Indian capital, New Delhi, has not yet received vaccines.
“As soon as the vaccines come, we will make the right announcements. Only then can people with appointments start coming to the centers,” he said.
Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chuhan of the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh said another 25 million doses had been ordered to respond to the introduction, but the vaccines would not arrive on time.
“Therefore, the vaccination program over the age of 18 will not start in Madhya Pradesh from May 1,” he said.
The western state of Gujarat is also moving its expanded distribution to May 15, said Chief Minister Vijay Rupani. Vaccination for those aged 18 and over “will start after we receive significant doses of vaccines from pharmaceutical companies, which is likely to happen soon,” Rupani said in a virtual address posted on social media.
And in the state of Andhra Pradesh, the chief minister said on Thursday that expanded distribution could only begin in September, according to CNN-News18, a CNN member.
Other countries did not mention a change in the date of placing on the market, even when their health authorities warned of a shortage. Maharashtra, the worst-affected country, has repeatedly called for more vaccines, with the capital, Mumbai, suspending all vaccinations across the city due to shortages on Thursday.
Difficulties with vaccination
India started the year with an ambitious goal: to fully vaccinate 300 million people by August.
The vaccination program began in mid-January, but the introduction was fraught with problems. It started slowly, with logistical problems, as well as population variability in the vaccine – especially towards India’s own Covaxin vaccine, which was approved for emergency use before the efficacy of the third phase of the study was published.
Public confidence rose slowly and the vaccination rate rose – but then the second wave hit. As demand increased, supplies declined rapidly.
There are several factors that contribute to the continuing shortage. On the one hand, India is rapidly exporting large doses of vaccines to other countries and, through COVAX, the global initiative to provide vaccines to low-income countries. To date, India has exported 66 million vaccines.
There is also a shortage of materials, with the United States prioritizing raw vaccines for its own distribution – although the Biden administration has since said it intends to send vaccines to India.
The Indian government has tried to catch up with increasing urgency by accelerating the second wave. To date, the government has purchased at least 205.5 million doses of vaccine, according to data from the Global Health Innovation Center Duke – placing India in the top 10 buyers of vaccines in the world. On Thursday, the country’s health ministry announced that more than 10 million vaccines are stored in states across India, and another 2 million will be distributed over the next three days.
But delays and shortages have caused frustration among some local authorities, who say the central government has been too slow and disorganized in response to the crisis.
Throughout April, vaccination centers in various countries complained of delays and shortages of vaccines, and dozens were forced to be temporarily closed. In the state of Maharashtra, volunteer teams and health workers went from door to door, bringing eligible people to be vaccinated – only to be rejected at the vaccination site because there were no more shots fired.
States have called on the central government to send more vaccines. But the government backed down, arguing that the shortage was due to poor governance or inaccurate reporting.
As frustration grows between local, state and federal governments, patience has long been exhausted on earth, where the health care system is collapsing and thousands are dying every day. Ensuring a stable supply of more smoothly distributed vaccines across the country could be crucial to minimizing damage, as the second wave covers the country, experts say.
“The only solution for India is to get vaccinated outside of this pandemic,” said Ramanan Laksminarayan, director of the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy in New Delhi. “And the world really needs to help, because if India doesn’t solve this problem, the world isn’t done with Covid.”
CNN’s Jesse Yong reports and writes from Hong Kong. Manveena Suri reported from New Delhi.