The demand and supply mismatch for Covid-19 vaccines has improved from week ago, reducing the waiting time for people trying to book an appointment, chief executive officer, national health authority, Ram Sewak Sharma told Times of India.
“The noise started surfacing particularly after registrations for the 18 to 44 age group were opened. You will be amazed to learn how steeply skewed the demand-supply for vaccines is," said Sharma.
According to Sharma, over 23 crore people were registered till May 21, whereas there was a backlog of 9 crore waiting to be vaccinated.
Meanwhile, despite government’s liberalised regulatory framework for foreign vaccines, India may not be able to get timely vaccine supply from Pfizer and Moderna.
Several other countries are much ahead of India in line, waiting for delivery of their confirmed orders, and the two American companies, which began supplying vaccines last year are committed to delivering millions of doses to countries through 2023, The Indian Express reported.
The expert body under India’s drug regulator declined to recommend emergency use authorisation for Pfizer’s mRNA vaccine in February. Pfizer had subsequently withdrew its application then.
Between February 3 and May 24, India has reported 1,49,017 Covid-related deaths. May has turned out to be the deadliest month since the outbreak of coronavirus. Since May 1, India has reported 95,390 deaths related to the infection, accounting for 31.41 percent of the total deaths. The shortage of vaccines has slowed or stopped vaccinations across the country — and the failure to vaccinate threatens to take away gains from the lockdowns imposed by almost all states.
The Union Health Ministry appeared to accept this reality. “Whether it is Pfizer or Moderna, we have been coordinating at the central level… Both Pfizer and Moderna, most of the time, their order books are already full.
It is depending on their surplus on how much they can provide to India. They will come back to Government of India and we will ensure that their doses can be supplied at state level,” Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary in the Ministry, said.