A U.S. Air Force aircraft carrying 545 oxygen concentrators arrived in New Delhi, Tuesday, May 4. This flight was the fifth in the series of coronavirus aid to India by the U.S.
READ MORE: As India reels from a second wave of COVID-19 infections that is devastating major cities, stockpiles are falling short of surging demand in the country, health experts warn. The country’s mass immunization bid to expand its vaccination drive to all adults is posing to be a herculean task, they say.
India opened vaccinations this month to those who are 18 years of age and older. Although it is the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, the approximately 70 million shots for COVID-19 being produced per month cannot address the massive needs of the world’s second most populous country, health experts say.
K. Srinath Reddy is the president of the Public Health Foundation of India, a health research and policy development organization based in New Delhi. He said the challenge to meet demands includes groups considered “new entrants,” people between the ages of 18 to 44 years old.
“We are talking about 595 million people. So, we are talking of 1.2 billion doses,” he told VOA. “It’s a huge task and our vaccine stocks currently do not measure up anywhere near that.”
Several states have said they cannot expand the drive because they are already struggling to inoculate older people with higher levels of risk.