Coronavirus: How well is India's vaccination drive doing?
Amid fears that a third wave of COVID-19 will hit India soon, calls for a faster vaccination drive have grown. Last week, the government sought to highlight that India had administered more vaccine doses than the United States. However, the absolute number of doses does not tell the full story of how well India's vaccination drive is proceeding. Here's all you need to know.
India has administered over 35 crore vaccine doses, out of which, 6.4 crore were second doses. India has only rolled out three vaccines so far—Covishield, COVAXIN, and Sputnik V (Moderna is yet to arrive)—which all involve two doses. Since vaccinations are only allowed for adults (18+), out of the eligible population, 30.2% have received their first dose, while only 6.65% are fully vaccinated.
An analysis by Professor Shamika Ravi—a former member of the PM's Economic Advisory Council and Research Director at The Brookings Institution—showed that vaccination coverage varied significantly between states. Kerala has fully vaccinated 13.49% of its eligible population, followed by Delhi (12.64%), Gujarat (12.06%), Himachal Pradesh (11%), Uttarakhand (10.71%). Vaccine coverage was lowest in Bihar (3.26%), Uttar Pradesh (3.27%), Jharkhand (4.47%), and Tamil Nadu (4.69%).
In terms of vaccinations per million population, UP (India's most populous state) took the last spot, followed by Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, and Assam. Among more populous regions, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Uttarakhand, and Gujarat reported a high number of vaccinations per million population.
Within the states of Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, Professor Ravi noted there is a big discrepancy in vaccine coverage among districts. For instance, in UP's Gautam Buddha Nagar, 90% people have been administered at least one dose, but in the state's Raebareli, only 9% have received one dose. The gap varies from 15% to 61% between Tamil Nadu's Tiruvannamalai and Chennai, respectively.
The analysis also sought to highlight a gender disparity in vaccinations. In Jammu and Kashmir, the percentage of men against the percentage of women vaccinated was 57:43. Delhi (61:50), Odisha (44:34), Madhya Pradesh (43:36) also observed a significant gender disparity. In Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, and Karnataka, the gap was narrow, while in Andhra Pradesh 45% women were vaccinated against 38% men.
The number of daily COVID-19 cases has declined in India since hitting a peak of 4.14 lakh on May 7. Significantly, the five worst-hit states—Maharashtra, Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Andhra Pradesh—amount for over 70% of all new cases. On Monday, India reported under 40,000 new cases along with a three-month low of 723 deaths. However, experts warn the third wave could hit soon.