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Thu Apr 29, 2021, 12:37 PM

How India's Vaccine Drive Crumbled and Left a Country in Chaos

(Bloomberg) -- When India launched its Covid-19 vaccination drive in mid-January, the chances of success looked high: It could produce more shots than any country in the world and had decades of experience inoculating pregnant women and babies in rural areas.

“Our preparation has been such that vaccine is fast reaching every corner of the country,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Jan. 22. “On the world’s biggest need today, we are completely self-reliant. Not just that, India is also helping out many countries with vaccines.”

Just over three months later, that initial promise has evaporated and the government’s plans are in disarray. India has fully vaccinated less than 2% of its 1.3 billion-strong population, inoculation centers across the country say they’re running short of doses and exports have all but stopped. Rather than building protection, the South Asian nation is setting daily records for new infections as a second wave overwhelms hospitals and crematoriums.

Modi’s response has been to abruptly shift strategy on vaccines and supplies. Initially the federal government negotiated prices with manufacturers, distributed them to states and restricted them to priority groups like the elderly and healthcare workers. Starting May 1, everyone over 18 is eligible for a vaccine while state governments and private hospitals can purchase doses directly from manufacturers for people from 18 to 45 years -- triggering a desperate free-for-all rush to secure shots from an already strapped market.

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https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/other/how-indias-vaccine-drive-crumbled-and-left-a-country-in-chaos/ar-BB1gb54k

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