Daily Briefing: Over 2 bn Covid vaccines in India by end of the year; 15 more patients die of O2 shortage in Goa hospital

Amid a crippling shortage of vaccines across the country, the Centre has for the first time said that it has been in talks with three global manufacturers — Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson — to supply to India.

Good morning,

The Second Wave 

Amid a crippling shortage of Covid-19 vaccines, the Centre has announced that over 2 billion doses will become available for India between August and December this year. The government added that pharma giants — Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson — have indicated that they will be able to open discussions only in “Q3, 2021”.

Meanwhile, Goa Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) witnessed another night of terror, with 15 more deaths between 2 am and 6 am on Thursday as oxygen supply pressure dipped. This comes just two days after 26 Covid patients died due to suspected oxygen issues at the medical facility.

While several states have announced their intent to float global tenders for Covid vaccines, most are aware that they may yield little to no results since they have to compete with advance orders by other countries and procurement efforts by a global Coronavirus vaccine facility. 

Based on the recommendation of the seven-member Covid-19 working group, the Centre announced that it was extending the interval further to 12-16 weeks, citing “real-life evidence” from the UK. The Centre had asked states to prioritise the second dose of vaccination for the 45-plus age group.

Only in the Express 

In an interview with The Indian Express, Road Transport and Highways Secretary Giridhar Aramane,  Convener of Empowered Group-II of Secretaries, spoke about the government’s plans on the second wave, a possible third wave, and what is being done to mitigate the Covid-19 pandemic.

Pratap Bhanu Mehta writes on the Israel-Palestine conflict: “We will have to remind Israel of the blowback of imperial politics: The ultimate consequence of trying to dominate a people is that you end up destroying the moral legitimacy of your own claims.”

It was the Union Home Ministry that first proposed roping in Common Service Centres (CSC) to help expand the vaccination drive in rural and semi-urban areas, by helping people in the 18-44 age group register on the CoWin platform for their shot. But today, the CSCs have largely switched off the vaccination programme, records obtained by The Indian Express show. 

Must Read 

Meena Kumari and husband Lallan Ram died within a fortnight of each other. Both principals of government schools, they had attended a training camp for panchayat polls in Uttar Pradesh. Their son Aniket says his parents were assigned election duty despite being in high-risk Covid group due to age and comorbidities, and developed fever within days of returning.

All indications from the coronavirus numbers in India in the last two weeks suggest that the second wave of infections may already have reached a peak, or will peak in the next few days. The end of the second wave may still be a long distance away, though.

And Finally 

From playing tennis-ball cricket on the dusty by-lanes near her home in Rohtak, to becoming the World No.1 women’s T20I player, teenage batting sensation Shafali Verma has taken the world of cricket by storm. When asked about her preparation for the inaugural edition of The Hundred, she said, “There’s no tension. I just want to perform to the best of my abilities and make my country and father proud.” 

In today’s episode of ‘3 Things’, we look at how Uttar Pradesh’s healthcare system is currently crumbling under the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Until tomorrow,
Rahel Philipose

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