Mon 18 October 2021:
Despite amassing record vaccine stocks, India’s vaccination campaign has slowed, according to health ministry data released today, as authorities maintain a wider-than-usual gap between doses in a plan that has increased coverage.
Krishna N Das reports from New Delhi for Reuters that domestic production of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which accounts for nearly 90% of administered doses, has more than tripled since May, when a supply shortage prompted India to double the period between doses to between 12 and 16 weeks.
That gap, exceeding the eight to 12 weeks recommended by the World Health Organization, has allowed India to give at least one vaccine dose to 74% of its 944 million adults, with just 30% getting the full complement of two.
Over the last few days, daily stocks of all Covid vaccines have exceeded 100m doses. In contrast, daily vaccinations have dropped to an average of 5m doses this month, and even less in the past week.
In July, the studies estimated that more than two-thirds of Indians already had COVID-fighting antibodies, mainly through natural infection.
Monday’s 13,596 new cases were India’s lowest rise in 230 days, taking its tally of infections past 34 million. Deaths rose by 166 to stand at 452,290.
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