Tears and fears as India’s huge coronavirus vaccine push falters

Greater Noida, India: India's huge coronavirus vaccination drive is behind schedule, with a third of recipients not showing up for appointments because of safety fears, technical glitches and a belief that the pandemic is ending.

After one week, India has vaccinated 1.4 million people, or 200,000 people per day. It had initially hoped to process 300,000 per day before ramping up the rollout and inoculating 300 million by July.

At the Sharda Hospital in Greater Noida near New Delhi, pharma student Khushi Dhingra, 17, hugged a friend and wept as she waited to get her shot.

“I am very afraid. I hate needles and I am worried about side effects,” she told AFP.

“My papa is very worried too. He is calling me again and again to make sure I am okay.”

“There are about 80 students in my batch but only two have opted to get the shot,” said nursing student Sakshi Sharma, 21, in Greater Noida.

“My friends are saying there will be side effects, that you can even get paralysis.”

India is using two shots for its drive. - AFP