India is the world's biggest vaccine producer but it's struggling to get enough COVID-19 vaccines to give to its own population

  • India is the world’s largest vaccine producer but it’s struggling to vaccinate its own population. 
  • India signed up to give up to 200 million doses to other countries as part of COVAX. 
  • It’s delaying deliveries this month to address the limited supplies internally. 
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

India is the world’s largest vaccine producer but it’s struggling to inoculate its citizens with the COVID-19 vaccine due to shortages, CNN reported. 

The country had gifted and sold tens of millions of COVID-19 vaccine doses to other countries, Reuters reported. 

India is a major factor in COVAX, the World Health Organization’s global vaccine-sharing initiative and agreed last year to manufacture up to 200 million doses for up to 92 countries.

However, millions of people in India are awaiting vaccines as coronavirus cases there surge. Five states have reported severe shortages. 

On Thursday, India surpassed 14 million COVID-19 cases, adding a million new cases in less than a week. On Friday, the country surpassed 200,000 daily cases, a record. 

Late last month, COVAX announced in a news release that shipments from the Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine maker, would be delayed through April “due to the increased demand for Covid-19 vaccines in India.”

Reuters reported that this month, India only exported about 1.2 million doses compared to the 64 million doses it sent out between the end of January and March. 

The country began vaccinating people in January and set a goal of fully vaccinating 300 million people by August, CNN reported. So far, only 15.5 million people have been fully vaccinated,  according to Johns Hopkins University. 

CNN reported that many vaccine clinics across India had to shut down last week due to limited or no supplies, including almost 700 in Odisha state. 

Earlier this week, the country authorized Russia’s Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine, which would be used alongside the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine and another made by Indian firm Bharat Biotech already in use.

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