India on 27 August hit a record 1 crore dose of anti-Covid-19 vaccines till 10 PM, surpassing the previous high of 92 lakh shots on 16 August as vaccination picked up the pace with improved supplies.
Now almost 37% of India’s 1.3 billion population is covered with at least one dose whereas 10% have received both doses. Out of the 94 crore adult or 18-plus population currently eligible to receive shots, 51% have been covered with at least one dose. Of these, 15% have got both doses.
While the numbers of those fully vaccinated are low in India in comparison to countries like the US and the UK, this country is progressing in terms of shots per 100 population. In recent weeks, the graph has risen sharply to 43/100 population.
Though India’s large population makes the task of vaccination challenging, barring China, it has delivered the most number of full vaccinations after the US. The US has 172 million people fully vaccinated and India has 136 million. In terms of the number of people who have received at least one dose, India is behind only China, which has delivered two billion shots overall as of 26 August.
The government aims to cover all of the adult population by December this year before it starts vaccination among children. Officials said achieving the goal will depend on the ability to scale up and a sustained pace, and equally on the eligible population “willing” to receive shots as well as those who might be difficult to access.
The improved pace of vaccination is mainly driven by a better supply of jabs in August coupled with the government’s initiatives to expand the coverage, particularly for the second dose.
While around 15 crore doses have already been given in August, the advance visibility given by the Centre on Friday morning showed over four crore unused doses available with states, whereas 17.64 lakh doses were in the pipeline.
This is higher than the 13.45 crore doses given in July and 11.97 crore doses given in June. “We hope to achieve 17 crore plus inoculations in August. It could have been even more but the next few days may remain modest because of the weekend and Janmashtami. We are targeting to give 20-22 crore doses in September,” a senior official said.
In the current week of 21-27 August, vaccination coverage has also improved significantly with over 4.58 crore doses given during the week, up by 15% from the previous week.
In August, each week has seen over 3.5 crore doses being given, underlining the uptick in vaccinations.
Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh have administered the maximum number of doses in August. While Uttar Pradesh has recorded almost 2.15 crore doses this month so far, Madhya Pradesh has given 1.3 crore doses and Maharashtra nearly 1.1 crore doses.
The government expects vaccine supplies to improve further with Zydus Cadila’s ZyCoV-D likely to be available from October and Covaxin supplies also improving. Currently, three vaccines are being administered in India — Covishield, Covaxin and Sputnik V.