Covid-19 Vaccine coverage: As India closes in on 100 crore shots, here’s the journey so far and road ahead

By: |
October 18, 2021 5:26 PM

As of October 16, more than 28.28 crore people are fully vaccinated and 69.47 crores has received at least one dose, which means 74 per cent of the adult population in India got at least one dose while 30 per cent are fully vaccinated.

India is reaching the 100 crore milestone in a record 275 days time.

India is racing towards its 100 crores Covid-19 vaccination mark and even with the current figures, no country other than China has achieved this landmark. Also since no other country has a population as India and China, the billion-doses club will consist of only these two Asian nations.

Yet then, for a country that faced supply bottlenecks, vaccine hesitancy in the initial period, the 100-crore milestone is a huge feat in itself. India faced logistics issues in distribution and storage of vaccines and providing for the cold-chain network to remote areas where healthcare facility is not at par. Add to the fact that India got into the midst of the worst second wave of the pandemic as soon as the vaccines became available to the general public, crippling the same health care system that was to be used for vaccine administration.

India is reaching the 100 crore milestone in a record 275 days time. The vaccination drive started with healthcare workers on Janu 16 and on average 27 lakh doses were delivered in 10 months. There were variants in the pace of the vaccination like on six days more than 1 crore jabs were administered while in the first couple of months only 50, 000 doses were given to the priority group.

As of October 16, more than 28.28 crore people are fully vaccinated and 69.47 crores has received at least one dose, which means 74 per cent of the adult population in India got at least one dose while 30 per cent are fully vaccinated.

Better coverage for smaller stars with lesser population

In states like Sikkim, Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Ladakh, Chandigarh, Lakshadeep, 100 per cent of the adult population has got at least one dose and also has the highest proportion of fully vaccinated people

On the other hand, some of the larger states with a much larger populations like Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Gujarat, Uttarakhand also has managed to partially vaccinate 90 per cent of the population. However, some of the less densely populated north-eastern states like Meghalaya, Manipur, Nagaland, UT of Puducherry are lagging behind with on average 60 per cent of the population having for the first jab.

For bigger states with a higher population like Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Bihar, Maharashtra, the coverage is close to 70 percent for first dose and between 17 to 20 per cent for 2nd dose, reports the Indian Express.

Vaccination coverage and rural-urban divide.

Metropolitan cities and tier I cities have fairly good and uniform coverage as people need to get back to their usual like, travel and there are lower levels of vaccine hesitancy. A portion of people with both doses in more than the national average of 30 per cent.

As for the rural areas, data from the 243 BRGF (Backward Region Grant Fund) districts most of which are rural shows that there is a wide disparity in vaccine coverage in different districts in different states. In some districts like Balrampur in Chattisgarh and Tiruvannamalai in Tamil Nadu, the vaccine coverage is 8 per cent while in some districts in Jammu and Kashmir it is 80 per cent

But there is no data to show that rural areas, in general, are lagging behind in vaccination. In fact, if data by 243 BRGF districts are to be believed at least 80 per cent population (according to the 2011 census) is partially vaccinated, much higher than the national average. Hence there is no sharp rural-urban divide in vaccine coverage. By increase in population with an updated census can bring down the percentage slightly.

The road ahead

Even with India picking up pace in vaccination in the last three months, the road ahead is to fully vaccinate the entire adult population by the end of this year, and to achieve this is an uphill task, At least 90 crore doses needs to be administered between now and December 31, almost as much as was administered in last 8 months which means the same amount in one-fourth of time!

India administered the highest number of doses to date in September with 23.5 crore does. It needs to do much better if it wants to meet in December 31 target. The vaccination pace again slowed down the pace of second dose vaccination dipped in June, got a big push in July, the decline in August again, and has been on a rising gain after people with the first dose crossed halfway mark. In the last four days, the number of second doses outnumbered first doses beneficiaries.

Vaccination also played important role in controlling the spread of the infection and halting the third wave. The daily case count slide from 4 lakh to 50, 000 in 45 days and went significantly down to less than 20, 000 mark in four months. The daily Covid-19 case count has not reached 20,000 for the last 10 days now.

Vaccination necessarily does not guarantee protection against infection but prevents hospitalisation to a large extent and avert chances of the disease taking a serious turn.

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