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Some Indian states warn of vaccine shortage as Covid-19 cases peak

India reported a record 115,736 new Covid-19 cases on Wednesday, a 13-fold increase in just over two months, raising pressure on the government to expand its vaccination campaign.

Some states, including hardest-hit Maharashtra and Odisha, have complained of a scarcity of vaccines during a second wave that has forced some centres to turn away people.

Only those aged over 45 are now being immunised in India, the world’s biggest vaccine maker, which started its campaign with health and other frontline workers in mid-January.

“Vaccination centres have to close early due to a shortage of supplies,” Maharashtra’s health minister, Rajesh Tope, told reporters.

Stocks would run out in three days after the daily injection of over 450,000 doses, he said.

Odisha said it had closed nearly half of its immunisation sites due to the shortfall, with supplies left only for two more days.

India’s health minister said the complaints, mostly from states not ruled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party, were attempts to cover up their failures and spread panic.

“Vaccine supplies are being monitored on a real-time basis, and state governments are being apprised regularly about it,” Harsh Vardhan said in a statement. “Allegations of vaccine shortage are utterly baseless.”