Only 3.27 percent of the total population of India has received full vaccination (both doses) after a four-month-long drive that started in mid January this year, shows the official data.
Delayed second dose, shortage of vaccine shots and technical glitches in the CoWIN app are among the few constraints cited for slow rate of vaccination so far.
The nationwide vaccination drive began on January 16. The health ministry had aimed to accelerate the campaign in March and April. However, things took a different turn over the last two months. The number of daily inoculations dropped to half from about 40 lakh a day in April to about 20 lakh a day in the current month. At this pace, India would take more than one and a half years to administer just the first dose to the entire population. However, the Centre recently announced that 216 crore vaccine doses will be made available in the country in the coming five months.
The second dose
According to data provided by the Union Health Ministry, the country has inoculated about 17.72 crore people as of May 13. Of them, 13.76 crore people were administered the first dose while only one-third (3.95 crore) could complete the two-dose schedule. The statistics clearly show how the administration failed to keep the momentum of the vaccination drive as it progressed.
In percentage, Tripura has completed the maximum i.e. 34.75 percent of second doses, followed by Ladakh (30.35 percent), West Bengal (28.54 percent) and Andhra Pradesh (27.71 percent). About 19 states and Union Territories have reported about 20 to 30 percent second doses. Almost seventy to eight percent of those who got the first dose are waiting for the second one as states and Centre grapple with vaccine shortage.
Though the total number of vaccination (17.72 crore) looks huge, when compared to the population it is still very low. Maharashtra, which has administered the maximum number of doses, could cover only 3.39 per cent (38.11 lakh) of its population with two doses till date. Similarly, Rajasthan and Gujarat have administered about 1.5 crore doses and have achieved complete inoculation (both the doses) of just 6.15 and 4.23 per cent population, respectively. Tripura and Ladakh are the only states to have completed both the doses of more than 10 per cent of the population.
Only 12 states and Union Territories have completed both doses of more than five percent of the population. These include Tripura, Ladakh, Lakshadweep, Sikkim, Chandigarh, Uttarakhand, Gujarat, Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Delhi and Arunachal Pradesh.
Uttar Pradesh stands at the bottom of the list with only 1.5 percent (30 lakh people) population been administered both the doses.
Trouble during vaccination
The shortage of jabs in several states has hindered the vaccination process over the last few weeks. Many cities in Maharashtra, including the worst-affected Mumbai and Pune, had to shut down the vaccination centers in April due to unavailability of doses. Besides, the addition of a new age group (18 to 44 years) has increased the demand, which further delayed the second jabs for many.
In addition, glitches in online slot booking and registrations through CoWIN app and portal are delaying the process further.
A ray of hope
A COVID19 task force in India on Thursday estimated that the country will receive more than 2 billion (216.5 crores) doses of various vaccines by the end of the year. Dr. V K Paul of Niti Aayog said that the government’s estimate is based on the manufacturing data provided by the vaccine companies.
The Serum Institute of India’s Covidshield (75 crore doses) would form the biggest chunk of the vaccines that will become available in India. It will be followed by Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin (55 core) and Russia’s Sputnik V (15.6 crore) which will be provided until December in batches. Besides the three, more vaccines will be added to the list in the days to come.