Indias COVID-19 vaccination drive has reportedly continued to falter owing to vaccine hesitancy and short supply, putting the Indian governments pledge to vaccinate the whole nation by December in doubt.
Many states, including the nation’s capital, Delhi, have reported that vaccine stocks have run out, while others, such as Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, and Maharashtra reported that vaccine supplies are running extremely low in many districts, particularly for individuals aged 18 to 45 years.
Vaccines have run out in Delhi again, Manish Sisodia, Delhi’s deputy chief minister, announced through a tweet. Sisodia alleged that the central government provides vaccine stocks that last for a day or two, after which the Delhi government has to close the vaccine centers for several days.
The central government has refuted claims of shortages, claiming that all states were notified weeks ahead of time how many vaccination doses they would get each month.
Inoculating India, the world's second-largest populated country with over 1.3 billion people, is a massive undertaking. However, national statistics reveal that the country is still far from meeting the daily vaccination goals needed to get the entirety of the adult population inoculated by the end of 2021, a target that government minister, Prakash Javadekar, had promised in May.
According to the data, only 5% of the Indian population has received both shots of the vaccine, while 20% have received only one dose.
These slow inoculations come amidst growing fears of a third wave striking India in the coming months. Which has further heightened the need for vaccines in the country and marked the starting of a panic situation.
The Indian Medical Association (IMA) issued a statement on Monday warning that the third wave is unavoidable and imminent, and requested the government to restrict tourist travel along with religious activities and pilgrimage sites, which have increased in recent weeks.
Vaccine hesitancy has also hampered vaccination drive, especially in rural areas of India. There have been allegations of attacks on mobile vaccination centers in the state of Bihar, where vaccine reluctance is rampant due to misinformation campaigns on social media platforms, like WhatsApp, as well as worries that vaccinations would cause infertility or death.