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India’s vaccine shortage to last months, top manufacturer warns

A patient suffering from covid-19 is treated with free oxygen at a makeshift clinic outside the Gurdwara Damdama Sahib on May 2 in New Delhi. (Getty Images)
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India’s vaccine shortage will probably last for months after the government failed to properly plan for a second wave of coronavirus infections, the head of the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer said.

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Adar Poonawalla, chief executive of India’s Serum Institute, made the remarks in an interview Sunday with the Financial Times. He said he has been “unfairly” victimized as India’s covid-19 outbreak surged and vaccinations sputtered, due in part to a domestic shortage of vaccines.

A group of scientific advisers to India’s government also said they warned officials in early March that a more transmissible variant was spreading in the nation of some 1.3 billion people, Reuters reported. Authorities, however, refrained from taking more drastic measures to prevent a surge.

Here are some significant developments:

  • The Food and Drug Administration is expected to expand emergency authorization to allow children as young as 12 to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine by next week, according to federal officials familiar with the development.
  • The European Union is recommending member states ease restrictions on nonessential travel to open for vaccinated visitors, bringing European vacations for Americans closer to reality.
  • The United States this week will start talks with the World Trade Organization to potentially lift intellectual property rights on lifesaving coronavirus vaccines, as the devastating covid-19 outbreak in India puts pressure on the White House to move more rapidly to help stem the crisis.
  • Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison rejected criticism over his administration’s decision to ban travel from India and to fine or jail anyone who disobeys, including Australian citizens.
  • India during the weekend set records for case and death counts as the outbreak grinds on. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party faired poorly in regional elections, presaging a possible backlash to his leadership during the crisis.
  • Olympic officials unveiled their plans to keep the Tokyo Games safe and running, as many in Japan still wonder why they are going forward.
  • U.S. case numbers continued their steady slide, falling to a seven-day average of around 50,000 new infections a day, comparable to last October. More than 576,000 people have died from the coronavirus in the United States.

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