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Understanding The Pace Of India’s COVID-19 Vaccination Drive

36.35 per cent of the total population of over 121 crore people has received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine as of July 27

Understanding The Pace Of India’s COVID-19 Vaccination Drive
  • India plans to vaccinate its adult population of over 94 crore by year-end
  • A gender divide is seen with more males getting vaccinated than females
  • More people are getting COVID vaccinated in rural areas than urban

New Delhi: India’s coronavirus vaccination drive began on January 16 this year and is often touted as the world’s largest vaccination drive by the centre. In a little over six months’ time, India has administered over 44.01 crore vaccine doses, as of July 27. The country plans to vaccinate its adult population of over 94 crore by the year-end. Let’s take a look at the pace of the vaccination drive in India and how it is being rolled out across different age groups and states.

Also Read: Larger Population Surveys Required For Deeper Understanding Of COVID-19, Its Antibody Response: Experts

COVID Vaccination Trends In India

As per the data available on the Co-WIN dashboard, over 44.01 crore vaccine doses have been administered in the country. These include 34.51 crore people who have been given the first dose and 9.49 crore people who have received both doses. This implies that 36.35 per cent of the total population of over 121 crore people, as per the Population Census, 2011 has received at least one dose of the vaccine.

The vaccination trends in terms of the number of doses reached their peak between June 19 and June 25 when 4.12 crore doses were administered. The number of COVID vaccine doses given during this time was highest since the vaccination began because of a change in the vaccine policy. In an address to the nation on June 7, PM Modi announced that starting June 21, the central government will procure 75 per cent of the vaccines being produced in the country and distribute these for free to the states. Therefore, on the first day of the new vaccine policy, India administered 88.09 lakh coronavirus vaccine doses in a single day. However, soon after that, a dip was witnessed.

Also Read: Third Covid Wave May Occur Either Due To Mutations In Virus Or Pool Of Susceptible Population: Government

In the first week of India’s vaccination drive (January 16-January 22), 12.43 lakh doses were administered. A month later, between February 20 and 26, 33.13 lakh vaccines doses were given. It’s important to note that up until February 28, vaccination was open for only healthcare and frontline workers.

The second phase of the vaccination drive began on March 1 at 9 AM for people over 60 and people above the age of 45 with comorbidities. The private hospitals were also made part of the vaccination drive which meant more vaccination centres were available. From March 20 to March 26, 1.52 crore people were given vaccines.

On April 1, the vaccination was expanded to everyone above the age of 45 years and between April 24 and April 30, India administered 1.54 crore vaccine doses. This includes both the first and second doses.

The number of vaccine doses saw a slight dip by May end (May 22-28) when a total of 1.46 crore doses were given. However, this figure increased to 4.12 crore between June 19 and 25.

Also Read: Prime Minister Narendra Modi Lauds Chandigarh Vendor Giving Free ‘Chole Bhature’ To Those Who Show Vaccination Proof

In an interview to NDTV, Dr Aviral Vatsa, Physician, NHS, Scotland, UK highlighted the low rate of vaccination in India and explained the role of vaccines in fighting COVID-19. He said,

Vaccination in the UK has crossed 50 per cent mark, still, we are seeing a rise in cases there. The good thing that is coming from the UK data is that double doses of the COVID-19 vaccine prevent hospitalisation and severity of COVID disease, so the link between the virus and patients have definitely been weakened by the vaccination. Now considering these facts, when we look at the scenario in India – we see COVID-19 appropriate behaviour is not being followed properly, the pace of vaccination has not increased. We also need to remember that the more the transmission is, the more chances of new variants emerging, and spreading. So, all this is definitely a cause of great concern.

Gender Divide In COVID Vaccination

The government data shows a gender divide in COVID vaccination in India. Out of the total jabs given so far, only 20.54 crore or 46.67 per cent doses were administered on females, whereas 23.46 crore doses or 53.30 per cent on males. Only 0.018 per cent doses have been given to people who do not identify as male or female.

Also Read: COVID Vaccination: Everyone Above The Age Of 18 Expected To Get Jabs By December, Says Centre

Talking to NDTV about why women are lagging behind in COVID vaccination, Dr Suneela Garg, Member, Lancet Commission Covid India Task Force; Director, Professor HAG Community Medicine, Maulana Azad Medical College said,

The empowerment of women has never been a priority in our country. According to National Family Health Survey 5 data, which was released in December last year, it was seen, 60 per cent of women had never used internet in different states. Whereas only 20 per cent of women are having smartphones, so that is the extent of empowerment. Even for getting a COVID-19 vaccination, women are dependent on the men of the house or other people, someone who can take them to the vaccination centre and get themselves vaccinated. That’s the reason number one that they are lagging in the COVID-19 vaccination drive as they have never been empowered, they depend on others for their work. The change is happening, but it will take time.

41.12 per cent of the total doses have been administered in the age group 18-44 followed by 33.90 per cent in the age group of 45-60. 24.96 per cent of the vaccine doses administered so far have been given to people above the age of 60 years.

Also Read: Covid Vaccines For Children: Experts Speak On The Options Available For India

COVID Vaccination Across States And Union Territories

Uttar Pradesh, the most populous state in the country, has administered the maximum number of vaccine doses at 4.56 crore, covering 22.83 per cent of the 19.98 crore people in the state, as per Census 2011. Of this, 3.82 crore doses have been given as the first dose whereas, 74.15 lakh have been given as the second dose. The state is followed by Maharashtra having administered 4.22 crore vaccine doses and Gujarat at 3.21 crore doses.

If we look at the dose wise bifurcation, Maharashtra leads in second dose administration with 1.03 crore doses.

Daman and Diu, Ladakh and Lakshadweep are the three union territories with the least number of doses administered. While Daman and Diu has given 2.68 lakh doses, Ladakh has administered 2.5 lakh and in Lakshadweep, 64,833 doses have been administered.

COVID Vaccination: Rural VS Urban Trend

As per the data available on the Co-WIN, a digital platform for the COVID-19 vaccination delivery management in the country for the last two weeks, rural areas are performing better in terms of vaccination than urban areas. On July 12, 25.2 lakh people were vaccinated in rural areas as opposed to 16.88 lakh vaccinations in urban areas. This urban and rural divide has widened in the last two weeks. On July 26, 42.71 lakh people got the jab in rural areas, the number stood at 23.14 lakh in urban areas.

Also Read: Pfizer, AstraZeneca Vaccine Antibody Levels May Decline After 2-3 Months: Lancet Study

How Can India Achieve Its December End Target Of Vaccinating All Adults?

In an interview to NDTV earlier this month, Dr NK Arora, who heads the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration, expressed confidence that the government will be able to meet its target. This, he said, is based on the boost in vaccine supply expected over the coming months. Explaining the increase in vaccine supply, Dr Arora said,

In June and July, there has been an increase. The country got 5.6 crore doses a month till May, now it is getting 10 to 12 crore doses and next month it should be nearing 16 to 18 crores. From September, we should be having 30 crore plus doses.

Dr Arora also highlighted the responsibility of the states in setting up of vaccine centres. Currently, the number of vaccination centres in the country is at about 34,000, which is not sufficient and there is a need for more such centres, he said.

Our capacity is to have at least 75,000 to 1 lakh immunisation centres across the country in the government sector. In addition to that about 1,500 private vaccination centres, he said.

Explaining how the country would be able to achieve the target of vaccinating all adults by December, Dr Arora said, the calculations show that it is possible and added,

As of now, we need to administer about 180 crore more jabs. The target is to inoculate the adult population of about 92 crore. This means that we should be able to cover all adults by December. Also, the way our system is geared which shows that each centre can administer about 120-125 doses. So, if we have 1 lakh centres, over 1 crore doses can be administered. Today the production of Covaxin is about 5 crore doses a month which will be ramped up to 1.2 billion by September.

Also Read: Entire Adult Population In India Will Be Vaccinated Against COVID-19 By December: Dr NK Arora, Head, Expert Panel On Immunisation

India’s vaccination drive is supported by three COVID vaccines – Covishield, Covaxin and Sputnik V – which received an emergency use license over the past few months. Of the total vaccine doses administered, over 38 crore have been of Covishield, 5.27 crore of Covaxin and 4.19 lakh of Sputnik V.

Recently, during a parliament session, India’s junior health minister, Bharati Pravin Pawar informed that the current monthly production capacity for Covishield is 11 crores and is planned to be increased further. As far as the production of Sputnik V is concerned, earlier this month, the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and Serum Institute of India (SII) announced cooperation to produce the Russian Sputnik vaccine against coronavirus. The first batch of Sputnik V vaccine is expected to be produced at SII’s facilities in September and the plan is to produce over 300 million doses of the vaccine in India per year.

The country has got its fourth vaccine also after the Drugs Controller General of India (DGCI) granted permission to the Mumbai-based pharmaceutical company Cipla to import Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use. The usage of Moderna has not begun yet. However, as reported by a news agency ANI, India has been offered 7.5 million doses of Moderna vaccine through Covax.

Apart from this, Zydus Cadila’s DNA COVID vaccine ZyCoV-D could be the next vaccine for India as it awaits emergency approval.

Also Read: Coronavirus Explained: All About Zydus Cadila’s Needle Free COVID-19 Vaccine, ZyCoV-D

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene

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