Covid-19: Tika Utsav doesn’t do the trick, vaccination levels remain low

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While a total of 11.2 crore vaccine doses have been given, compared to around 19.5 crore for the US, India’s performance is much poorer in terms of the share of the population that has been vaccinated.

Prime minister Narendra Modi’s call for a four-day Tika Utsav where an all-out effort was to be made to vaccinate as many of those above the age of 45 doesn’t seem to have worked with just about a third in the target group cumulatively getting vaccinated till the end of the special drive. Though the number of vaccination shots rose to 2.9 million on Wednesday compared to 2.5 million the day before, the average for the four days from April 11 to 14 was 2.9 million shots; ironically, in the four days prior to the Tika Utsav, the daily average was 3.3 million based on data sourced from the CoWIN site.

It is not clear whether the slowing in the vaccination drive — it reached a high of 4.5 million on April 5 — is due to the shortage of vaccines or whether it is due to vaccine-hesitancy, which is the reluctance of people to get vaccinated. While the exact data is difficult to ascertain since the central government insists states have enough vaccine supplies — till April 13, the Centre said states had 1.7 crore vaccines and 2.0 crore were in the pipeline — vaccination centres have been reporting zero supplies in various states.

While a total of 11.2 crore vaccine doses have been given, compared to around 19.5 crore for the US, India’s performance is much poorer in terms of the share of the population that has been vaccinated. According to ourworldindata, the UK and the US have administered around 58 doses per 100 persons versus just eight for India on April 13.

After Tuesday’s vaccinations, according to a ministry release on Wednesday, a total of 78.1 million persons above the age of 45 have got inoculated at least once; there is no age break-up of 19.2 million health and frontline workers who have got at least one shot. Assuming half this group is above the age of 45, this means a total of 88 million persons above the age of 45 have been inoculated; that’s around 34% of the target group.

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