Fire in an Indian hospital, the Covid-19 service kills 18


A staff member records a notice at a vaccination center in Mumbai on April 20.
A staff member records a leaflet at a vaccination center in Mumbai on April 20. Indranil Mukherjee / AFP / Getty Images

Southern Indian states Telangana and Andhra Pradesh have become the latest to postpone the national Covid-19 vaccination rollout scheduled for Saturday, citing vaccine shortages.

As of Saturday, anyone over the age of 18 is eligible for vaccination in India.

Telangana’s director of public health, Dr G. Srinavasa Rao, tweeted on Friday that the state would not be vaccinating people this weekend because he had not received doses.

In neighboring Andhra Pradesh, officials admitted that it was not “practically possible” to start immunizing people over 18 because of limited supplies.

“If we are to meet the commitment to the old age group, it will certainly take the whole month of May,” Anil Kumar Singhal, chief health secretary of Andhra Pradesh, told reporters on Friday.

At least seven states and territories are facing shortages that are impacting the planned deployment of vaccines.

While some are run by opposition party governments, they also include Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat, two populous states led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata party.

But not all Indian states face problems.

Kerala, where India’s first case of coronavirus was detected in January 2020, said its vaccination campaign will continue.

State Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan tweeted on Wednesday that he had purchased an additional 10 million doses for the next three months. Those who need their second dose will be given priority and that “Kerala’s vaccination campaign will continue, uninterrupted,” he added.

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