Several states in India have run out of vaccines against COVID-19, exacerbating a dire second wave of infections that has left hospitals and morgues overflowing while families scramble for increasingly scarce medicines and oxygen
The first consignment of Sputnik V vaccines from Russia today arrived in Hyderabad.
"Sputnik-V vaccine will add to India's arsenal to fight the pandemic. This third option will augment our vaccine capacity & accelerate our vaccination drive. This is the first consignment of 1.5 lakh doses of Sputnik-V vaccine with millions of doses to follow," MEA said in a statement.
"Efficacy of the Sputnik V is among the highest in the world, and this vaccine will also be effective against new strains of COVID-19. Its local production is about to start soon and is planned to be gradually increased up to 850 million doses per year," said the Russian Ambassador to India.
"As Russia and India continue dedicated joint efforts to combat the COVID-19, this move is especially important to support the Indian Government’s endeavors to mitigate the deadly second wave and save lives," N Kudashev, Russian Ambassador to India further said..
"First batch of SputnikV vaccine arrives in Hyderabad, India! That's the same day the country starts mass COVID vaccination drive covering its entire adult population. Let's jointly defeat this pandemic. Together we are stronger," a tweet posted from the official Twitter handle of Sputnik V.
Russia on Thursday delivered to India 20 tonnes of medical supplies mainly comprising oxygen concentrators, ventilators and medicines as part of its assistance to help the country deal with the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic that has gripped several states and union territories.
The medical supplies were brought to Delhi in two transport aircraft operated by Russia's EMERCOM, a state-run agency overseeing civil emergency services The relief materials were delivered a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin held a telephonic conversation focusing on ways to contain the pandemic. "Two urgent flights operated by the Russian EMERCOM arrived today which brought a cargo with a total weight of 20 tonnes. These are oxygen concentrators, lung ventilation equipment, monitors, medicines, including coronavirus, and other essential pharmaceutical items," Russian Ambassador Nikolay Kudashev said.
He said the joint fight against the coronavirus pandemic is one of the most important areas of cooperation between the two countries at present.
"It also includes the forthcoming deliveries of the Sputnik V vaccine starting May 2021 and the subsequent facilitation of its production in India," he said. The envoy said bilateral cooperation in the field of medical science included ways to deal with the new coronavirus strains. "Russia is closely watching the situation in India, which is becoming more and more alarming with unprecedented spread of the coronavirus infection. We sincerely empathise with the Indian people," he said in a statement released by the embassy.
Several states in India have run out of vaccines against COVID-19, exacerbating a dire second wave of infections that has left hospitals and morgues overflowing while families scramble for increasingly scarce medicines and oxygen.
Second only to the United States in total infections, India has reported more than 300,000 new cases daily for nine days in a row, hitting another global record of 386,452 on Friday.
Total deaths have surpassed 200,000 and cases are nearing 19 million - nearly 8 million since February alone as virulent new strains have combined with "super-spreader" events such as political rallies and religious festivals.
India has struggled to increase capacity beyond 80 million doses a month due to lack of raw materials and a fire at the Serum Institute, which makes the AstraZeneca vaccine.
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