India has declared a new variant of the coronavirus “worrisome” after detecting almost two dozen cases in three states. The variant, locally identified as ‘Delta plus’, was found in 16 cases in the state of Maharastra, in the central-western area of the country and with capital in Bombay, according to the Federal Secretary of Health, Rajesh Bhushan, at a press conference on Tuesday. The ministry stated that the variant ‘Delta plus’ shows higher transmission capacity and advised states to increase testing. On Monday, India vaccinated a record 8.6 million people in one day per start offering free injections to all adultsBut experts doubt it can keep up. “This is clearly not sustainable,” Chandrakant Lahariya, an expert on public policy and health systems, told Reuters. “With this daily record, many states have consumed the majority of their current vaccine stocks, which will affect vaccination in the coming days.” “With the vaccine supply projected for the next few months, the maximum achievable rate is 4 to 5 million daily doses,” Lahariya added. The effort to vaccinate the population has so far covered a 5.5% of the 950 million eligible people, even though India is the world’s largest producer of vaccines. A devastating second wave during April and May it overwhelmed health services, killing hundreds of thousands. The images of funeral pyres burning in parking lots they raised questions about the chaotic deployment of the vaccine. Since May, vaccination averages less than 3 million doses per day, far less than the 10 million a day that experts say are crucial to protect the millions vulnerable to new waves.
The vaccination campaign falters
In the rural zonesWhere two-thirds of a population of 1.4 billion people live and the healthcare system is overloaded, the momentum of the vaccination campaign has faltered, experts say. “Keeping up will be difficult when it comes to injecting younger people into those areas.”, defends epidemiologist Rajib Dasgupta. The capital also faces a complicated challenge. The authorities of New Delhi state that more than 8 million residents had not yet received a first dose and that it would take more than a year to inoculate all adults in the metropolis at the current rate. India has been administering the vaccine AstraZeneca, made locally by the Serum Institute of India (SII), and one homegrown, Covaxin, manufactured by Bharat Biotech. Last week, SII said it planned to increase monthly production to around 100 million doses starting in July. Bharat now estimates that it will do 23 million doses a month. On Tuesday, television channel CNBC-TV18 reported that Covaxin’s phase 3 data showed a 77.8% efficiency. India may also soon have a massive rollout of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine, and the government hopes to import vaccines this year from major manufacturers like Pfizer. Although new infections have fallen to their lowest level in more than three months, experts say it is due intensify vaccination due to the greater transmissibility of the new variants. In the past 24 hours, India reported 42,640 new infections, the lowest number since March 23, and 1,167 deaths.
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