India will target 1 crore Covid jabs every day from mid-July – this has been the oft-repeated statement by the Centre’s coronavirus task force, members of the Niti Aayog and the Union Health Ministry. A week-on-week analysis, however, shows that what started with stunning world record on June 21st, the new vaccine policy change has not been able to maintain the weekly vaccination rate.
World record impact: From June 21st to June 27, India on average saw somewhere around 6 million or 60 lakh Covid jabs per day. This was a significant increase from the pre-June 21st period that saw little over 3 million jabs each day.
And numbers tank: But the week that followed witnessed a sharp slump with around 4 million Covid shots. There has been a dip of 33 per cent in terms of the weekly vaccination rate, the CoWin data shows.
Is CoWin tweak a reason? It should also be noted that from July 1st, the Centre had introduced another change for vaccine procurement by the private hospitals across India. The rule stated that each private hospital must place the order on the CoWin portal. Whether this has impacted the vaccination rate is still not clear yet.
Indians love Sundays: Another pattern that has emerged in the latest vaccination drive is of Sunday slump. In other words, since the new policy came into force, Sundays have seen a sharp drop in the number of Covid jabs.
It’s a man’s world: Another aspect of the vaccination drive is the marked gender gap. More men are getting the Covid shots in comparison with the women.
No lesson learnt? The brutal second wave showed us that the urban areas with high movement and greater population density were badly hit. Hence, many were expecting much higher vaccination rates in the metros and surrounding areas. In terms of cumulative numbers, this is true also. Since more and more offices and factories are getting their employees vaccinated, things may look bit brighter for the urban areas. But it’s not true in its entirety.
Take for example Ghaziabad. The city, which is part of the National Capital Region, has seen no uniform trajectory of vaccination. Mirroring the national trend, the June21-June 27 week saw an average of 20,000 to 30,000 Covid jabs. But in the June 28 to July 4 week, the vaccination rate nosedived. On July 4, around 1,200 doses were administered.
State of states: Odisha, Kerala, Karnataka, Jharkhand are some of the states that have written to the Centre for the additional vaccine stocks. Odisha has been forced to close down the vaccination centres in several districts due to the severe shortage. In June 21-June 27 week, Odisha had managed to vaccinate 3 lakh individuals each day. But the June 28-July 4 week has seen abysmal numbers. Barring three days when the daily jabs crossed the 1 lakh mark, the state has witnessed very poor figures.
The most interesting case is of Madhya Pradesh. After topping the national vaccination tally with blazing records, the CoWin graph shows deeper valleys indicating poor jab figures.
The June 21-June 27 week saw a volatile trend. From highs over 17 lakh Covid jabs, the week saw lows of around 5,000 shots. In the following week, the only day when the vaccination rate really picked up was on July 1st, when the state saw nearly 10 lakh Covid jabs.
Where’s the stock? This brings us to a very important question – where are the vaccines? While there has been a lot of developments regarding the new vaccines and ramping up of the supplies, yet the daily CoWin data shows that the states are not vaccinating a high number of individuals. With almost entire India already in some form of the ‘Unlock’, the Centre must act fast. July is the month when the Government of India plans to administer 10-12 crore doses. It would be interesting to see what happens next.