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Covid-19: India sees new spike in cases despite vaccine rollout

BMJ 2021; 372 doi: (Published 30 March 2021) Cite this as: BMJ 2021;372:n854

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Re: Covid-19: India sees new spike in cases despite vaccine rollout

Dear Editor

The medical emergency of Covid-19 forces the Indian government to vaccinate its younger population: as of now, India accounted for 17,313,163 positive cases and 195,123 mortality, which makes India the second most affected nation after the USA. In the past few weeks, the positivity rate has exponentially increased to over 20%. The percentage of active cases has increased up to 16.25%.

In view of the sharp surge in the infection rate, a high-level meeting was carried out in the presence of the prime minister of India. The government took a clarion call to speed up the vaccination drive. It was announced that India would begin its phase 3 of the vaccination drive from May 1, 2021. This phase makes everyone above 18 yrs eligible to get the vaccine. Currently, India is experiencing the second wave of COVID-19, which is mainly affecting the young age groups between 25-40 years. Therefore, it is decided to cover this age group as well.

The move is important as the daily confirmed cases have crossed the 2.5 lakh mark. The reported number of deaths has increased to more than 2800 per day. Under this phase, 50% of the vaccine will be available to the open market and the state governments, and the rest 50% will be made reserved to the Centre. There will be no reservation on the imported vaccines.

The manufacturers are required to transparently declare their price in advance for this 50% supply in the open market and to the state government. This price will act as a basis to procure the doses.

As per the latest report of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), the cumulative vaccine coverage has reached above 14.19 crore doses. A total of 73,600 vaccination centres are active in the country. As of now, a total of 119,265,786 first doses and 22,645,437 second doses have been administered.

Competing interests: No competing interests

26 April 2021
Saurabh Kumar
Young Policy Professional
Indian Institute of Science (IISc)