A study has revealed that fewer than 3% of the adult population between the age group 18-45 have been fully vaccinated in Mumbai and are unlikely to benefit from the new guideline which allows fully vaccinated people to resume traveling in local trains from August 15 onwards.
CM Uddhav Thackeray said on Sunday that hid decision to resume train services was backed by data that the city had 19 lakh fully vaccinated people, however it has been found that the people from the 18-44 age group that is going to be the most mobile account for only 2.6% of the fully vaccinated thus defeating the purpose of the new move.
Vaccination for the 18-44s was conducted between May 1 and 12 before the state decided to prioritize the second dose for the 45-plus. The drive was suspended for the younger group till June 21 and only those who could afford paid shots got the doses at private centers. This resulted in the lag in the volume of vaccines provided.
Decentralization of the vaccines from the centre to the states has also been attributed to this low number of vaccinations. Since May 1, states began to scramble to procure vaccine doses. Maharashtra could only manage a few lakh doses that lasted less than two weeks.
Deliberation of the newest Covid guideline, Epidemiologist Dr. Chandrakant Lahariya told TOI that exceptions must be made for those who have taken the first dose and agree to wear a mask while traveling. “After all, it’s not their fault that they couldn’t get vaccinated or the time gap between two doses is 84 days,” he said. Also, the decision could have been taken with a notice of three to four weeks so that they had a chance to get vaccinated, he added.
“We don’t know what percentage of people from which age group uses the local trains. But vaccination by definition means two doses. Hence, complete vaccination as a yardstick is a scientific decision. It should reasonably help to keep the transmission in check in a local where there is crowding and congregation,” Dr. Shashank Joshi, member of the Covid task force opined.
However, Joshi’s statement was countered by Lahariya who argued that in countries such as France and Italy, where full vaccination is necessary to enter stadiums, restaurants, there is no vaccine unavailability, unlike India. “Here, if a person wants to get vaccinated tomorrow, he cannot,” he said.
However, officials said full vaccination in this age bracket will see a jump in 45 days by the end of August and early September.