India's central government accused of 'vaccine mismanagement' amid shortages

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More than 2 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses will "likely be available in India between August to December," a top Indian government official claimed on Thursday, per Reuters.

But the coming influx will be months behind India's current crisis. Multiple Indian states are battling a vaccine shortage that, as of Wednesday, has forced a pause in inoculations for those aged 18 to 44. Western Maharashtra, the southern state of Karnataka, and the union territory of Delhi have all been affected, CNN reported Thursday morning.

Delhi's Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia blamed the shortages on "vaccine mismanagement" by the central government and called the country's decision to export vaccines its "biggest mistake," per CNN. Sisodia also shared a letter from India's Bharat Biotech, manufacturers of Covaxin, India's "first indigenous COVID-19 vaccine." In the letter, the company claims it is "unable to keep up with the demand."

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Karnataka has "suspended vaccinations for the 18 to 44 age group until May 14," and will "use its current supplies to vaccinate those due for a second dose," writes CNN.

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Western Maharashtra state decided similarly, suspending vaccines for the 18 to 44 age group "until it receives more vaccines from the central government or can independently procure more vaccines," reported CNN.

India surpassed 250,000 COVID-19 deaths on Wednesday, as the B.1.617 variant "ravages" the Indian countryside, writes Reuters. It was the country's deadliest 24 hours thus far. With crematoriums at or past capacity, bodies of "suspected COVID-19 victims" have begun washing up in the Ganges and "rivers across India."

According to the World Health Organization, India accounts for "half of COVID-19 cases and 30 percent of deaths worldwide."

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