On June 21, India inoculated 85 lakh people with Covid vaccines. That is almost twice of the previous high of 43 lakh vaccinations done on April 5. With this new record, India can soon hope to reach near the one crore daily vaccination target that it aims to achieve in August. If a target of 75 lakh doses a day is set, then how long will India take to vaccinate its entire adult population i.e. 94.02 crore Indians above 18 years of age as per the Census 2011 projection?
A large population of India is still unvaccinated. As per data on June 20, 22.87 crore have been partially vaccinated and 5.12 crore are fully vaccinated with both doses which means India has 28 crore people either fully or partially vaccinated. That means the country has to vaccinate around 66.02 crore people more. As many as 66.02 crore people means 66.02 crore vaccine doses for partial and 132.04 crore vaccine doses for complete Covid vaccination. Now if the country manages to vaccinate 75 lakh people per day, it would take 88 days to partially vaccinate the entire adult population.
In order to fully vaccinate the entire adult population, India will have to vaccinate 88.89 crore people. Out of this 22.87 crore have received the first dose and need another dose of vaccine to get fully vaccinated, i.e., 22.87 crore doses. This will be in addition to the 132.04 crore vaccine doses required for the unvaccinated 66.02 crore population.
If we vaccinate 75 lakh doses per day, 176 days will be needed for 66.02 crore unvaccinated people to get two doses of the vaccine, that includes the gap between both doses of the vaccine as well plus 31 days for 22.87 crore unvaccinated people which adds to 207 days to fully vaccinate the entire Indian population.
Three vaccines are currently being used in India — Covishield, Covaxin and Sputnik V. All three are two-shot vaccines with different waiting periods between first and second dose. For Covishield, it is 84 days; for Covaxin it is 28 days; and for the third vaccine it is 21 days. Covishield right now is the main vaccine in use in India with around 10 crore doses of supply right now but Covaxin is also going to ramp up its production to 10 to 12 crore doses by July. Sputnik V, right now, is largely being imported from Russia.
As demanded by various state governments, the Centre decided to take over the vaccination drive across the country from June 21. The country followed a decentralized vaccine policy from May to June 20. Under the decentralized vaccine policy, states and private hospitals were supposed to share the 50% responsibility of arranging vaccines for the 18-44 age group of population while the population base above 45 years of age got free vaccines funded by the Centre.
The Centre has assured that this month India is expected to get 12 crore doses of vaccine that will be ramped up to 20 to 25 crore doses by July end. If we look at the data released by the Health Ministry on balance of the vaccine doses with states and union territories, it was mostly in the range of 1 crore available doses while daily vaccination mostly hovered between 10 lakh to 30 lakh doses. It means there were inherent problems like uncoordinated distribution of vaccines, price barriers with 18-44 population segment supposed to purchase it, vaccine hesitancy in small town and rural India and Co-Win app being only in English.
However, the Co-Win app is now available in Hindi and regional languages and going by the vaccination numbers on June 21, it seems the Centre has tried to ensure that balance stock of vaccine doses are maximum utilized and procurement of more vaccine doses would only scale up the process further.
Uttar Pradesh has set a target of 6 lakh vaccinations per day and intends to ramp it up to 10 to 12 lakh doses per day from July. The state aims to vaccinate its entire adult population by December. Karnataka intends to vaccinate 7 lakh people a day. Assam has set a target of 3 lakh while Haryana intends to vaccinate 2.5 lakh people per day. Odisha aims to vaccinate 3 lakh people per day. Madhya Pradesh that had set a target of vaccinating 10 lakh people on the first day of the new vaccine policy implementation crossed its own target by vaccinating 15 lakh people.