17:07 GMT23 July 2021
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    Over the past few weeks, India's unpreparedness for the second wave has laid bare the country's poor health infrastructure. Every day the country reports a fresh record - either in how many deaths or cases have been registered.

    Fearing the blood banks could run dry in case of emergency, India's Government on Wednesday decided to cut how long blood donors must wait after receiving one or two doses of the currently available COVID-19 vaccines, to 14 days.

    According to the the National Blood Transfusion Council (NBTC), the step has been taken after detailed talks with health experts. 

    "The announcement for reducing the time period would be reviewed regularly according to the need," said the council, which is responsible for drawing up policy concerning all matters regarding how blood centres in India operate. 

    The move comes after an array of medical experts and blood banks raised concerns over a shortage of blood in the absence of donation camps.

    Doctors and medical experts have been appealing to people to donate blood before getting vaccinated, especially in the age group of 18 to 45 since the Indian government on 1 May opened up vaccination for everybody above the age of 18.

    Earlier in March, NBTC said that people who had received a COVID-19 vaccination would have to wait 28 days before they would be allowed to give blood. However, that period is longer than that stipulated by other regulatory bodies around the world.

    Guidelines from World Health Organization recommend a deferral period of 14 to 28 days, but only in the case of live attenuated vaccines, which the two COVID-19 vaccines in India are not, and medical experts have therefore been clamouring for a reduction of the deferral period to 14 days.

    In recent days, India has been faced with a crippling shortage of hospital beds, oxygen, medicines and even burial and cremation grounds - after the second wave of COVID-19 struck the nation.

    Several accounts of ambulances queuing up outside hospitals, bodies piling up outside crematoriums and graveyards for hours, and the basic medical facilities seemingly crumbling in parts of the country because of a shortage of facilities are reported every day.

    Related:

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    Sweden's Blood Banks Running Dry Amid Stabbing Wave
    Shortage of Stocks in Blood Banks Pose Critical Healthcare Problem in India - Doctors
    Tags:
    banks, blood, ministry, oxygen, infrastructure, Health, vaccination, India, Death, pandemic, COVID-19, coronavirus
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