DAILY FROM: AHMEDABAD, CHANDIGARH, DELHI, JAIPUR, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NAGPUR, PUNE, VADODARA JOURNALISM OF COURAGE FRIDAY, MAY 14, 2021, PUNE, LATE CITY, 12 PAGES `5.00 WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM SINCE 1932 PROCURING SUFFICIENT DOSES Later rather than sooner: Govt unveils roadmap for supply of Covid vaccines 2 bn doses by year end: hope and a reality check In touch with Pfizer, Moderna and J&J, but they will talk in third quarter; will still have over 2 bn shots by Dec: Govt NEW DELHI, MAY 13 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. However, the government said on Thursday, the three pharma giants have communicated that they would be able to open discussions only in “Q3, 2021”. Even so, over 2 billion doses of Covid-19 vaccines could becomeavailableforIndiabetween August and December this year, according to estimates given by vaccine manufacturers, the government said. “We have contacted KAUNAIN SHERIFF M NEW DELHI, MAY 13 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 SHOTS ON WAY, ON PAPER AUGUST-DECEMBER (In crore doses) VACCINES DOSES STATUS Covishield Covaxin Bio E Zydus Cadila SII-Novavax BB Nasal Gennova Sputnik 75 55 30 5 20 10 6 15.6 11 cr doses in May-July 5 cr doses in May-July In phase 3 trials In last stage of Phase 3 Approval pending In phase 1-2 clinical trials In phase 1-2 clinical trials Available next week TOTAL 216 Source: Govt of India; in addition to these 2 bn doses, “other foreign vaccines may also become available” An aircraft carrying 176 ventilators from Germany, 324 oxygen cylinders from Finland, and 10 oxygen cylinders from Greece, arrives in New Delhi on Thursday. ANI States float tenders but Some breathing space from know it’s a long shot, science: Centre extends say Centre’s job to buy Covishield gap to 16 weeks PRABHA RAGHAVAN NEW DELHI, MAY 13 THE CITY RULING BJP IN PMC ACCUSES UDDHAV OF DISCRIMINATION PAGE 3 GLOBAL TENDERS for Covid vaccines by the Mumbai civic bodyandtheUttarPradeshgovernment for 1 crore and 4 crore doses respectively, and plans of at least half-a-dozen other states to call for bids, may yield little to no results, unless Russia and China step in with supplies. Such global tenders for vac- cine supply by sub-national governments amid supply shortages are the first publicly known instances during this pandemic. The states may be going through the motions to publicly announce their intent to citizens, but most reckon the slim chances since they have to compete with advance orders by other countriesand procurement efforts by a global Covid19 vaccine facility. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 KAUNAIN SHERIFF M NEW DELHI, MAY 13 JUST OVER seven weeks after it told states to increase the interval between two doses of Covishield to six-eight weeks, the Centre on Thursday extendedtheintervalfurtherto1216 weeks, citing “real-life evidence” from the UK. The Union Health Ministry said that the decision was based on the recommendation of the seven-member Covid-19 Working Group. Covishield accounts for 90 per cent of the 17.8 crore vaccine doses administered so far. Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan conveyed the revised time frame to the states inaletterandsaidthatnecessary changes are being carried out in the Co-Win platform. The decision comes at a time when several states have complainedof ashortageof vaccines. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 COMMUNITY SERVICE CENTRES BUSINESS AS USUAL BY UNNY ON THURSDAY, the head of the country's Covid-19 Task Force estimatedthe“emergingvaccine availability” for the period AugusttoDecemberatastaggering 216 crore — more than 2 billion — doses. The government's estimate, Dr V K Paul said, was based on data submitted by manufacturers of eight Covid-19 vaccines. “We have contacted the manufacturersandsoughtinformation on availability of vaccine for August-December... In this period, 216 crore doses would become available in India. Vaccine will be made available for all as we move forward...,” Dr Paul said. On paper, 2 billion shots ● would mean almost the entire adult population of the country can be expected to be covered by the vaccination drive by December. Realistically though, this woulddependentirelyontwokey factors: massive ramping up of vaccine manufacturing, and the availability of critical efficacy and safetydataof vaccinecandidates. Serum Institute of India (SII) will produce 75 crore doses of Covishield and 20 crore doses of the Novavax vaccine, Paul said — which adds up to 95 crore doses between August and December. According to the government, the Centre has so far E EXPLAINED KAUNAIN SHERIFF M CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 SHOULD WE HANG OURSELVES: UNION MINISTER P5 THE EDITORIAL PAGE Missing in vaccination: Rural service centres switch off, see tiny fraction of CoWin logins IGNORING PALESTINE BY PRATAP BHANU MEHTA PAGE 8 People wait inside the vaccination centre at the Janata Vasahat Primary Health Centre. Pavan Khengre State govt extends restrictions till June 1 EXPRESSNEWSSERVICE MUMBAI, MAY 13 A DAY after state cabinet ministers demanded the continuation of thepresentrestrictionstoprevent the spread of Covid-19, the Maharashtra government on Thursday extended the restrictions until 7 am on June 1 across the state. The government has also given powers to local disaster management authorities to decide on imposing general, sector orarea-specificrestrictionsbased on local conditions. The existing restrictions are in force till 7 am on May 15. The new order issued by Chief Secretary Sitaram Kunte stated that any person entering the state from any part of the country by any mode of transport will have to carry a negative report for the RT-PCR test conducted within 48 hours before entrytothestate.Milkcollection, transport and processing will be allowed without restrictions, though its retail sale shall be allowed subjecttorestrictions imposed on shops dealing with essential items or through home delivery, it added. “Local district management authority (DMA) may decide to impose further restrictions generallyortospecificsectorsorspecificareaswithintimationtostate disaster management authority (SDMA) and shall give at least 48 hours of public notice before making such further restrictions applicable,” the order stated. It said that the local DMA should keep special vigil on rural marketsandAgricultureProduce Market Committees (APMCs). If they find that people are not followingCovid-appropriatebehaviour,theDMAmaydecidetoshut the market or impose further restrictions, it added. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Pimpri: As active cases fall, 1,400 oxygen beds available in civic and pvt hospitals MANOJ MORE PUNE, MAY 13 AFTER A torrid April when Covid-19 patients struggled to get access to oxygen beds, the situation in Pimpri-Chinchwad is slightly better in May, with over1,400oxygenbedsavailable in civic and private hospitals. Thisisbeingattributedtothe fall in active infection cases. PCMC Additional Health chief Dr Anil Roy said by 12 noon on Thursday, 1,404 oxygen beds were available in PCMC-run Covid hospitals, Covid care centresandprivatehospitals."Of the 4,808 oxygen beds available in civic and private hospitals, 2,404 are occupied by patients and as many as 1,404 oxygen beds are vacant," he said. However, Dr Roy said only 10 ventilator beds were available in private hospitals. "There are no ventilator beds available in civic hospitals like YCMH, Auto Cluster Covid hospital or jumbo hospital," he said. Officials said there are 104 vacantnon-ventilatorbedsinintensivecare unitsof varioushospitals, and around 1,300 beds withoutoxygenavailableinhospitals. In all, there are 135 Covid hospitals and 22 Covid Care Centres in Pimpri-Chinchwad. PCMC Additional Health chief Dr Pavan Salve said in the past few days, Covid-19 cases have not risen as much as they did in March and April. "We had over 23,000 active cases last month.Nowthecaseshavegone below the 21,000 mark," he said. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Lockdown curbs, confusion on pricing ensure mere 0.1% of registrations at CSCs AASHISH ARYAN NEW DELHI, MAY 13 INSIDE GLOBAL OXYGEN TENDERS: ONLY 3 FIRMS LINE UP PAGE 5 CONSIDERING LIVE TELECAST OF SC PROCEEDINGS: CJI PAGE 6 PAGE 1 ANCHOR QUESTIONED BY the Supreme Court on its plan to increase vaccination in rural India, the Union Home Ministry said that people in the 18-44 age group living in semi-urbanandruralareascould make use of Common Service Centres (CSC) to register on the CoWin platform for their shot. That’s easier said than done. For, the CSCs, run by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, seen as critical nodes in bridging the rural-urban digital divide – helping residents with digital serv- At a vaccination drive-in, in Mohali Thursday. Kamleshwar Singh ices like Aadhaar or bank accounts — have been largely switchedoff thevaccinationprogramme, records obtained by The Indian Express show. Inwhathighlightsthecapacity gap and also raises questions on vaccine equity, of the roughly 3lakhCSCs,only54,460wereactive as on May 11. Theseregisteredatotalof just 1.7 lakh citizens for vaccination on the CoWin platform — given the total vaccination count at above 17 crore, that works out to just about 0.1 per cent. Thetopfivestatesbynumber vaccinated — with at least one dose — are Maharashtra, CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Delhi’s silver lining: ‘Oxygen need drops, can divert to others’ EXPRESSNEWSSERVICE NEWDELHI,MAY13 AFTER WEEKS of a bitter face-off withtheCentreovertheshortage ofoxygenforCovidtreatmentduring the second wave, and with at least23deathsreportedfromhospitalsduetosuppliesrunningout, theDelhigovernmentsaidthesituationhasimprovedtotheextent thatrequirementhasdippedfrom 700 metric tonnes per day to 582 ACovid centrewith500ICU bedsandadedicatedoxygen plantthat'scomingupin Delhi. Tashi Tobgyal metrictonnes. InawebcastThursday,Delhi's Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said that his government hasnowaskedtheCentretodivert extra supplies to other states in need. “Today as per new calculationsbasedonbedoccupancyand number of admissions in hospitals, we have found that Delhi nowneeds582metrictonnesoxygen (per day). Today, as a responsible government, we CONTINUEDONPAGE2 Less than a month after panchayat poll camp, teacher couple dead ASAD REHMAN LUCKNOW, MAY 13 “MY PARENTS were my world, I neverimaginedtheywouldboth leave us so soon and so suddenly,” says Aniket, 26. Meena Kumari, 55, and husbandLallanRam,59,diedwithin a fortnight of each other. Both principals of government schools, they had attended a training camp for panchayat polls in Uttar Pradesh. Aniket says his parents were assigned election duty despite being in high-risk Covid group due to age and comorbidities, and devel- opedfeverwithindaysof returning. However, since they couldn't actually participate in the election process due to illness, the family is not sure if the government will compensate them for their loss. Meena Kumari headed Composite Vidyalaya Nibi, and Lallan Ram, Poorva Madhyam Vidyalaya, both located at Shohratgarh in Siddharth Nagar district. The training camp was held at the district headquarters on April 11, with the two assigned election duty for April 26 at Doomariyaganj. “My father, a heart patient, started showing symptoms within four days of returning from the camp. Initially, he was stable, but on April 20, when his symptoms got severe, we got a Rapid Antigen Test done. Since it was negative,no hospital agreed toadmithim.OnApril22,wegot an RT-PCR test, but the report was delayed. We went from one Gorakhpur hospital to another (Gorakhpur is around 80 km from Siddharth Nagar) and finally, through a source, got him admitted to a private hospital there,” says Aniket, a graduate, who lived with his parents. The couple also have three daughters, two of them married and teachers at government Meena Kumari, 55, and husband Lallan Ram, 59, died within a fortnight of each other. Express schools. The third daughter has completed her MBBS from Mahamaya Rajkiya Allopathic Medical College in Ambedkar Nagar district. Aniket says that at the hospital, his father's condition kept getting worse. “We tried everything but could not save him. I keepaskingmyself if Icouldhave done something different." The eldest daughter, Preeti, says when their mother, who hadakidneyailment,fellill,they found a Covid hospital in Siddharth Nagar, but it did not have proper arrangements. “Whenever we spoke to her, she said there was no one to take care of patients." On May 4, Meena Kumari was among the five casualties at the hospital. Breaking down, Preeti says, “She died because of lack of facilities.Shewouldhavesurvived, she had a lot of willpower and wanted to live." Aniket says that given their parents' condition, the family had taken a lot of care to ensure they would not be exposed to the coronavirus. “But then they wereassignedelectionduty...My parents said that at the camp, no socialdistancingnormswerefollowed, there was no thermal scanning and few wore masks.” Preeti,whoasteacheratapri- mary government school in Gorakhpur was also posted for election duty, says, “What was the need for panchayat polls at this time?... At Tikonia village where I was posted, there were people who had fever and were tooweaktoevenputtheirthumb impression on the ballot paper, so we held their hands for it." Preeti says she too got Covid symptoms later, but these remained mild. “I could not get tested. My sister advised me what medicines to take." Basic Shiksha Adhikari, SiddharthNagar,Rajendra Singh said he had forwarded the CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Pune
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