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The Indian government primarily focused on vaccinating people against Covid-19 based on their age to reduce mortality, but the decision to expand the drive to 18-45 age group has triggered a crisis in supply, according to the chief of the central dispensation’s Covid-19 working group.

Dr NK Arora, chairman of the central panel, told NDTV there is enough vaccine even now for the earlier target group.

He said expanding vaccination for those aged 18-45 years should have been deferred for a while as “clearly there is no vaccine available”.

Arora said prioritisation of the vaccination was done to reduce morbidity and mortality. That is why those aged 45 years and above, and frontline workers were picked initially, added Dr Arora, who is also a member of India’s National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation.

“And even today, there is sufficient vaccine to take care of them till July, and 50-55 crore doses will be available for them,” he said.

Arora, however, said vaccines are not available even abroad now.

He added there is hardly any vaccine available globally because “these are highly committed manufacturing, cornered by some of the high-income countries”.

Earlier this week, the government announced that the country will have over 200 crore doses of vaccines between August and December.

Government officials also said supply of Covid-19 vaccines is likely to increase gradually from June, helping India get close to 300 crore doses in the seven-month period ending December.

Estimates chalked out by officials suggested that the tentative supply figures in May (8.8 crore doses) could almost double by June (15.81 crore doses) and quadruple by August (36.6 crore doses). In December alone, 65 crore doses might be available, over a seven-fold jump from the May numbers.

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