India's COVID crisis: cities run out of vaccines

A vaccination centre in Mumbai, but there's no shots left.

Authorities said that all inoculation centers in the megacity will be shut for three days starting Friday (April 30) because, as India's coronavirus crisis spirals, they're running out of vaccines.

Despite being the world's biggest producer of vaccines, India does not have enough stockpiles to keep up with its second wave, despite Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government planning to vaccinate all adults from Saturday (May 1).

Only about 9% of a population of 1.4 billion have received a vaccine dose since January.

In New Delhi, relatives gathered at a crematorium to collect the ashes of their loved ones.

48-year-old Rishi Raj Arora died on Thursday (April 29), one of nearly 3,500 deaths in only 24 hours. Medical experts believe the actual numbers may be much, much higher.

His uncle, overcome with grief, ''God rest his soul in peace'' he says.

For paramedic Ankita Patel, life over the past decade has been all about selflessly serving the sick and the needy in Ahmedabad.

But now, in the face of the raging pandemic, even she is beginning to feel scared.

"Sometimes my family feels scared that I work in such risky conditions and then come home in the evening. Everyone has their health-related fears but still they support me, and I also feel good that they appreciate me for working in this field."

Usually, it takes her and the ambulance driver an hour or two to pick up a patient from home and transfer them to a hospital.

Now she ends up spending several hours taking care of patients while waiting for hospitals to accept them.

Desperately needed help for India is on its way.

The United States will send more than $100 million in medical aid and it has also redirected its own order of AstraZeneca supplies to India, to allow it to make more than 20 million doses.

Shipments from other countries are already starting to pour in, with a third one from Britain arriving on Friday, while Ireland and Romania also sent supplies the previous day.