India’s vaccine drive loses steam, 2nd doses delayed


Express News Service

NEW DELHI:  The speed of the country’s Covid-19 vaccination campaign is decreasing rapidly, owing to an acute shortage of doses, and the slowdown has triggered concerns that it could impede taming of the massive surge in cases across the country. 

The average daily doses administered has come down by nearly 80% over the last one month from its peak, when on average 3.5 million vaccinations had been done per day.  According to the Centre’s own projection, the average daily vaccination between May 1- and 6 is only 7,17,100 about 79% less than the average daily vaccinations done in the first week of April.  

The Centre has supplied states with 17.02 crore doses while 16.05 crore doses have been administered so far, as per the Union health ministry. States are struggling to procure vaccines independently under the new policy. The reduced supply from the Centre also means many people from priority age groups who have taken their first jabs are being forced to delay their second. 

The Union government on Wednesday said 36 lakh doses are set to reach states in 3 days.   The health ministry plans to procure 11 crore doses of Covishield and 5 crore doses of Covaxin between May-July which will be supplied to states, but it may be available mainly for those over 45, and that too may not be adequate.

Experts say India needs to vaccinate at least 6-7 million a day to cover the most vulnerable population within the next few months. “It is clear that the government did not plan well for the vaccination… And even now I see no sense of urgency,” said a WHO India official.

Note: Graphic has been updated.

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