After sluggish May, India’s Covid-19 vaccination drive has slowly picked the pace. In the first 14 days of June, the average vaccination per day has reached a record high of 30.71 lakh doses. Overall 4.30 crore jabs have been administered this month with over 39.27 lakh doses given in the last 24 hours, the highest in the last 62 days. On April 12, over 40 lakh vaccine doses were administered, though the highest single-day vaccination was done on April 5 when more than 43 lakh doses were given.
India started its Covid-19 vaccination drive on January 16 this year. In the first month on an average 2.35 lakh doses were administered per day. The vaccination figure rose to 29.96 lakh average doses per day in April. However, the pace could not be sustained and due to the crippling shortage of doses, the average daily vaccination rate plummeted to around 19.70 lakh last month.
As of Tuesday morning, over 25.90 crore vaccine doses have been administered across the country. Eight States viz. Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh account for 60.79 per cent of the cumulative doses given so far, according to government data.
If India manages the June vaccination pace, it could well, according to a rough calculation, administer around 87 crore jabs by the end of the year. However, with the projected increase in vaccine availability in the coming months, the overall vaccination figure would be much higher than this projection.
The government has planned to vaccinate all its adult population by year-end. Last month, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan in his interaction with State health ministers had said that “Between August to December 2021, India will have procured 216 crore vaccine doses, while by July this year, 51 crore doses will be procured”. This effectively means India would have surplus doses even after every Indian is vaccinated. Globally too, India’s vaccination drive ranks high among the fastest vaccinating nations. Of the 33.1 million vaccine doses administered each day worldwide, India’s share stands at over 9 per cent in June.
Since the beginning of the vaccination drive India, on average, has administered over 17.27 lakh shots daily. The United States, which began its vaccination drive on December 14 last year, has an average daily inoculation rate of 16.98 lakh doses while Brazil which has the world’s second-highest death toll from Covid-19 has been on an average administrating 5.28 lakh doses daily since the South American nation rolled-out its inoculation drive on January 18, 2021.
The United Kingdom, among the first nations to start Covid-19 vaccination, has an average inoculation rate of 3.77 lakh daily doses. China has administered over 89 crore doses; the average daily vaccination rate could not be calculated because of the opaqueness of data.
Overall India has fully inoculated 3.4 per cent of its population while 14.68 per cent of Indians have received at least one dose of the vaccine, according to data compiled by the University of Oxford. Compared to India, Israel, Bahrain, U.K and U.S have completely vaccinated 59.4 per cent, 50.8 per cent, 43.9 per cent and 43 per cent of their respective population.
However, equating India’s vaccination speed with countries with much lesser populations just doesn’t fit well into the need of the hour. While many wealthy western nations have indulged in vaccine hoarding, creating a demand-supply imbalance of the precious vial of life, India, on the other hand, has remained extremely philanthropic in its approach to equitable distribution of vaccines globally.