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Coronavirus

India Goes Ahead with Administering the AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine

NEW DELHI — India says it’s going ahead with administering the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine with "full vigor’’ as it has seen no signs the vaccine causes blood clots in recipients.

Government health expert V.K. Paul said Wednesday that India's Health Ministry was aware of the potential blood clot issue but that "today, there is no concern at all.”

He said around 10 European countries have paused giving the AstraZeneca vaccine as a precaution.

Paul spoke as coronavirus infections have jumped acutely in several parts of India.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday ordered ramping up of surveillance and testing to stop an emerging “second peak” of coronavirus infections. Modi warned that the country was at risk of a nationwide outbreak if authorities did not curb the stop the localized surges.

The Health Ministry said confirmed cases in 125 of India’s more than 700 districts jumped by 100-150% in the past two weeks.

Modi said infections have spread from bigger to smaller cities and pose a danger to villages where vast multitudes of people live.

On Wednesday, India reported 28,903 new confirmed infections after slipping to under 10,000 per day in February. The daily numbers brought the country's total case count to 11.4 million on. Wednesday, the third-highest number in the world behind the United States and Brazil.

India started its vaccination drive on January 16 and has so far given 35.1 million doses across the country. It approved emergency use of the AstraZeneca vaccine and another vaccine produced by Indian company Bharat Biotech.

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