As India gears up for the mass inoculation process against the deadly Covid-19 as soon as the government approvals come through, the states with higher populations of 50 plus age group will get larger allocations.
This means Tamil Nadu should receive more vaccines than Bihar, Madhya Pradesh or Rajasthan despite its lesser population. Even though Bihar’s projected population is 12.3 crore which is about 60 per cent larger than Tamil Nadu's (7.6 crore), but only 1.8 crore of its people are above 50 years and above, as compared to TN which has nearly 2 crores in the same age group.
Along with the age group, the states with the higher number of patients living with comorbidities- blood pressure, diabetes, heart ailments, and hypertension will get more number of vaccines, a Times of India (TOI) report stated.
States with younger populations, such as Bihar, also have a smaller proportion of patients with comorbidities. Meanwhile, in Kerala, roughly 1 crore people are suffering from co-morbiities with a high prevalence of diabetes and hypertension, making it the state with the highest percentage of people in the priority category.
The government is planning to inoculate about 19.5% of the population- the 50 plus age group, along with 4 crore frontline workers, healthcare staff, policemen, and diabetes patients ageing below 50.
As per the norms, Uttar Pradesh due to sheer size will get the maximum number of doses as over 15 per cent of the population residing in the state is in the 50 plus age group. Maharashtra, West Bengal, and Tamil Nadu, in that order, are next in terms of their 50-plus population. Kerala tops the list of states by the percentage of the population needing vaccination. Recently released data from the National Family Health Survey 2019-20 showed that Kerala has the highest proportion of the population with diabetes and hypertension.
Meanwhile, a recently published paper based on NFHS 2015-16 data estimates that about 6.5% of adults below 50 years have diabetes. And data for major states like UP, MP, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand, Punjab, Haryana and Chhattisgarh is yet to be released, the numbers of diabetics and hypertension are still unknown.
In an attempt to ease the process, the Centre has shared a handbook with states with details of every single aspect of the gigantic drive that vaccinating against Covid-19 is set to be. The document also shows the government is prepared for any kind of theft and pilferage and asks for a “stringent vigilance mechanism” to check the same.