NEW DELHI, India: India heeded prompt warnings about a shortage of vaccines by health specialists and state authorities by placing orders for 660 million doses to be delivered during the latter part of 2021.
The order is believed to be the country's largest procured quantity, in a bid to protect millions of people in the event of a spike in COVID-19 cases.
The national government is seeking to vaccinate some 944 million people from India's adult group by December 2021, which health specialists believe to be a zealous target, noting that only eight percent of that figure has received both doses of the Covid vaccine.
Numerous Indian states cited a shortage of vaccines, leading to the shuttering of vaccination sites and the public being forced to stand in spiraling queues for protracted periods of time while waiting to receive their vaccinations.
The country has also placed an order for 375 million additional doses from AstraZeneca and 285 million doses of Covaxin, the indigenously manufactured vaccine from Bharat Biotech, according to the Economic Times.
The Serum Institute of India, which manufactures the Covishield vaccine, has increased its manufacturing to some 100 million doses per month.
The government has pegged the production of Bharat Biotech's vaccine doses per month to reach nearly 70 million doses during the July-August period, as compared to some 10 million doses during April. It projects manufacturing to increase to almost 100 million doses per month by September.
"I expect the vaccine shortage to continue and, as per the planned vaccine supply, it appears that the daily average for the whole of July will stay below 4 million," according to Rijo John from the branch of health economics and the Rajagiri College of Social Sciences in Kochi.