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India lags behind daily inoculation target by 20L doses, July’s feat gives hope

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India administered around 12.5 crore doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in July, one crore short of the monthly target of 13.5 crore to reach the Centre’s ambitious plan to vaccinate its 94 crore adult population by the year-end.

The country as of July 31, has cumulatively administered more than 46 crore doses of the vaccine, shows official data.

After media reports expressed scepticism over the government’s plan to vaccinate 94 crore Indians by December-end, given the sluggish pace of vaccination, the Centre clarified that the target was about the distribution of vaccine doses and not the inoculation.

A daily average of only 41 lakh doses were administered by state governments against a target of 60 lakh doses by July 31. The expected daily doses of 60 lakhs were achieved only on three days of the month.

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Despite being unable to meet the daily target in tandem with its annual goal, the country administered the highest number of doses in July since the beginning of the vaccination drive in January. In the first month (January), around 35.51 lakh doses were administered while in July the number went up to a whopping 12.5 crore. In June, about 10.7 crore doses were administered. However, the daily average doses of 40 lakh needs to be at least doubled to achieve full vaccination target (of those above 18 years) by the end of the year.

Maharashtra tops the list in terms of the absolute number of vaccinations. It is the only state to have completely vaccinated (administered both doses) more than a crore people. It is followed by West Bengal (86.11 lakh) and Gujarat (78.49 lakh). Odisha’s capital Bhubaneswar is the only city to have achieved 100 per cent vaccination so far.

Goa, Tripura, and Ladakh have covered over 90 per cent of their population with at least one dose of the vaccine. Delhi and Kerala have covered nearly 59 per cent of their population.

Bihar has vaccinated 23.03 per cent of its population with both shots. Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh, however, are among the least covered states. 

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In May, the Centre said that 216 crore doses of the vaccine would be available between August and December, enough to vaccinate India’s 94 crore population above 18.

The Centre in June informed the Supreme Court that while the country would require 186 to 188 crore shots of COVID vaccine to inoculate its adult population, only 51.6 crore doses could be raked up by July 31.

The government said as opposed to its earlier procurement goal (of 216 crore), it would procure 135 crore doses of COVID vaccines between August and December – 50 crore of Covishield, 40 crore doses of Covaxin, 30 crore doses of BioE’s vaccine, 10 crore doses of Sputnik V and five crore doses of Zydus Cadilla’s DNA vaccine.

Even though July’s vaccination is an improvement on the past pace of inoculation, projections show that even if 50 lakh doses are administered every day, the country will be able to only vaccinate 66 per cent of its population.

However if India is able to administer 88.09 lakh doses in a day, a feat it only achieved on June 21, it would be able to crack its target of inoculating the entire adult population before the New Year.

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