India to receive first shipment of the Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine

India will receive its first shipment of the Russian Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine today. India is in the midst of

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Photo: Anupam Nath/AP

India will receive its first shipment of the Russian Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine today.

India is in the midst of a devastating second wave of COVID-19. Hospital beds and medical supplies are nearly exhausted as cases continue to rise. Low vaccination rates, loosened lockdown restrictions and a new virus variant are to blame for the crisis. Today’s Sputnik V shipment may alleviate India’s vaccine shortages, although it is unknown how many doses are being sent.

This delivery is part of a larger partnership between Moscow and New Delhi to produce 850 million Sputnik vaccines. Priced at $10 a shot, it is a cheaper alternative to Western substitutes. Over the coming months, further shipments could ease the current public health crisis, provided the government can administer the shots quickly.

Expect India’s crisis to worsen in the short-term. Vaccine shortages and high infection rates will likely hamper vaccination efforts. In the medium-term, the Sputnik deal, along with other foreign aid, will likely curb the second wave by Autumn. The second wave may also delay India’s economic recovery if the government re-imposes lockdown restrictions or the variant spreads to other countries, prompting further outbreaks and lockdowns that damage global trade.

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