Women mourns during the cremation of a relative died of COVID-19 at Nigambodh Ghat crematorium in New Delhi. Photo: Vijay Pandey/ZUMA Wire/dpa
Women mourns during the cremation of a relative died of COVID-19 at Nigambodh Ghat crematorium in New Delhi. Photo: Vijay Pandey/ZUMA Wire/dpa

A huge number of vaccine doses have gone to waste in India even as several states are reporting vaccine shortages, blunting the country’s fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

More than 4.4 million doses were wasted, out of 100 million doses, from the start of the inoculation campaign in January through April 11, according to data shared by the Health Ministry in response to a query filed under the Right to Information Act.

India on Tuesday registered its deadliest day since the pandemic began, with 1,761 deaths reported.

As several sites across India, including a main vaccination centre in Mumbai, ran out of vaccines, courts intervened and excoriated the authorities for bad planning.

“Hundreds of thousands of people could have vaccinated with doses that were wasted, helping control the second Covid wave that is sweeping the country,” Vivek Pandey, a social activist who filed the RTI told dpa, adding the reply did not specify how the waste occurred.

“These drops that can save lives, are being wasted. We are losing on valuable and young lives. The pandemic does not discriminate,” the Delhi High Court said, according to a report in the Hindustan Times.

The information on vaccine wastages came to light a day after the government decided to widen the vaccination campaign to cover everyone above 18 years starting on May 1.

More than 259,000 infections were reported in the past 24 hours, taking India’s caseload to more than 15.3 million.

The country’s worst-hit areas have announced lockdowns, curfews and other restrictions as health care systems have been stretched to the limit and graveyards and crematoria are overburdened.

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