Published: 2021-05-01 19:17
Last Updated: 2021-05-07 18:04
Saturday, India received its first batch of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine. India, a nation bludgeoned by a new COVID-19 wave, has expanded its vaccination drive in a bid to vaccinate its entire adult population.
An aircraft carrying the vaccines touched down in Hyderabad, south India earlier Saturday.
Sputnik V's wrote through their official Twitter account, “First batch of Sputnik V 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.”
According to India's Foreign Ministry, the batch contained 150,000 doses.
Earlier this week, India’s envoy to Russia, Bala Venkatesh Varma, stated the country was expected to receive around 150,000-200,000 doses in early May.
Notably, by the end of the month, around three million doses are set to touch down in India, Varma added.
The delivery comes as India expands its vaccination program. Starting from May 1, all citizens aged 18 or over are eligible to get vaccinated. Beforehand, the vaccination campaign primarily focused on the elderly and medical personnel working on the frontline to defeat the pandemic.
Despite vaccination efforts, the country faced a sharp uptick in coronavirus cases, and over the past few days, the country repeatedly set new global daily coronavirus case records.
Saturdaym the Indian authorities reported just over 400,000 new infections in the previous 24 hours, with the death toll jumping by over 3,500, reaching over 211,000 deaths.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, India registered more than 19 million coronavirus cases.
The uptick in cases has severely weighed down the country's healthcare system, with many hospitals running out of bed spaces and medical oxygen.
In turn, several countries have pledged to aid India as it struggles with the vicious second wave. To name a few, Russia and the UK sent aid planes with medical equipment and other items to help them combat the crisis.