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COVID Vaccination Rate Drops, India Likely to Miss July Target

To meet the target of 13.5 crore doses in the month, the average needs to be about 60 lakh doses. So far, it has been around 38 lakh.
People stand in a queue to receive a COVID-19 vaccine dose at a centre, in Guwahati, July 23, 2021. Photo: PTI

New Delhi: India is likely to miss its target of administering 13.5 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses in July, according to an Indian Express report which says at the current pace, 1 crore fewer doses are likely to be given.

The report says that until Sunday, 9.94 crore doses had been administered at an average of 38.26 lakh per day. To meet the target of 13.5 crore doses in the month, the average needs to be about 60 lakh doses. During July, more than 60 lakh doses have been administered just twice, one of them being Monday.

The number of doses administered in the past 30 days according the Co-WIN portal’s dashboard.

On June 21, when the Union government took back control of procuring the vaccines and distributing them to state governments, a record high of 87 lakh doses were administered. But as reports highlighted at the time, this number may have been artificially manufactured by BJP governments slowing down the pace of vaccinations in the days before and after June 21. It was later that the 13.5 crore dose target was set for July.

According to the Indian Express, official data shows that the weekly doses administered had come down from a high of 4.5 crore in the week ending June 26 to 2.8 crore in the week ending July 25. “However, this is still significantly higher than the weekly average of 1.51 crore doses administered during the 27 weeks until July 23,” the report says.

Weekly averages of vaccine doses administered in the country. Photo: Co-WIN Dashboard

Though the pace has picked up, some states are still complaining of a shortage in vaccines. The Kerala government on Monday said the state was facing a severe vaccine shortage and many districts would not have enough doses to inoculate people on Tuesday.

Health minister Veena George said the state has repeatedly flagged the issue with the Union government, but had not received enough doses.

One reason, as The Wire Science noted, could be that private hospitals are not able to utilise their allocations efficiently. Some chief ministers have asked the Union government to reduce the allocations to the private sector from the current 25% to about 10-5%.

And as R. Ramakumar, writing for The Wire, observed, there is no evidence that the “pressure on public facilities is reduced by vaccinations through private hospitals” or that private vaccine producers have “increased their supply in response to higher vaccine prices”.

He wrote:

“The solution is well-known. If 100% of the doses are procured by the Union government and supplied to all Indian for free, the 25% of the doses too can be administered more efficiently and equitably, and without discrimination.”

The health ministry said on Monday night that cumulatively, the country has administered more than 44 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses. According to the website Our World in Data, India has fully vaccinated 6.77% of its population, while 18% is partially vaccinated.

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