On Wednesday, nearly 1.3 crore Indians registered for the mass vaccination campaign, which is scheduled to launch on May 1 on the government’s dedicated portal CoWin. However, many of them failed to register and lamented about the technological difficulties they encountered when attempting to register on the CoWin portal. Some also said that the portal was unresponsive, while others said that it had collapsed.
The lack of COVID-19 vaccines in many states has sparked a political blame game. It has stoked public outrage and triggered a squabble between the central government and the states over vaccine prices and sourcing. Whereas, the Centre seems to be completely oblivious to the country’s vaccine shortages, accusing the states for mismanaging available supplies.
The makers of Covishield and Covaxin, the two Indian vaccine manufactures, have a combined manufacturing capability of about 2 million vaccine doses per day. However, the country needs between 6 and 7 million vaccinations every day. The regular scarcity is still significant, and it is most likely being covered by some Covishield inventory stocks from the past. Since production capacity growth takes time, even though it is already ongoing, the gap will widen in the coming weeks.
States are enraged by the Serum Institute of India’s (SII) decision to charge them Rs 400 per dose for the Covishield vaccine, despite the fact that the Centre pays Rs 150 per dose. The Centre took steps last week to partly open up vaccine distribution; it will import half of the vaccines permitted, while the other half will be available for purchase by state governments and private companies. A government official suggested that if vaccine manufacturers want to sell in the free market, they must “pre-declare” their costs, essentially eliminating competitive pricing. SII, which has consistently stated that the Rs 150 price tag is clearly “not feasible,” announced the new prices shortly after, i.e., ₹300 per dose, as a “philanthropic act.”
With just two days before the phase three vaccination push, the million-dollar question now being asked is whether enough vaccines will be available to vaccinate every adult in the country on May 1. The majority of states have sent negative responses. And if that’s the case, the central and state governments are in for a big disaster, when people are forced to hurry to have their vaccines starting May 1 due to the country’s troubling COVID condition.
Meanwhile, Centre on Tuesday said that more than one crore vaccine doses are already available with states and union territories, with a further 80 lakh doses arriving in the next three days. According to them, the GOI has given 15,65,26,140 vaccine doses to states and union territories at no expense.
The current state of anarchy in India’s COVID landscape is a pandemic in and of itself. About the fact that not everybody on the “over 45 list” has been vaccinated, government has added 500 million more individuals to the vaccine list. Furthermore, the majority of people who received their first dose are yet to get their second jab.