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Fact Check: Will States Now Import COVID-19 Vaccines?

The central government announced last month that those above 18 years of age will be eligible for COVID-19 vaccination from May 1.

Hospitals and vaccination centres were already struggling to cope with demand for vaccines from the above-45 age group. Post the opening up of inoculation for the adult population also, there is a bigger gap between demand and supply.

States have continued to complain that they are not getting enough vaccines, even after they have been permitted to acquire the vaccines directly from manufacturers.

Serum Institute of India (SII) and Bharat Biotech are trying to ramp up production of Covishield and Covaxin, respectively, but as SII’s CEO Adar Poonawalla has pointed out, it’s not possible overnight.

Now, Rajasthan is considering the possibility of importing vaccines.

Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said his government may import COVID-19 vaccines to ensure that people in the state get the jab at the earliest.

The CM, speaking at a high-level meeting to review COVID situation in the state, stressed on the importance of accelerating pace of vaccination because it’s the best way of stemming spread of the pandemic.

He opined that all possible options should be explored to procure greater number of vaccines.

Rajasthan recorded 17,987 fresh COVID cases and 160 deaths in the last 24 hours. The total cases since start of the pandemic climbed to 7,38,786, while number of deaths in the state now stands at 5,506.

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