The vaccination drive in India is progressing at a rapid pace as the union government appears to be on a mission mode to cover all adults by the end of this year. In the last 10 days, India has administered over 1 crore vaccine shots on at least three occasions, pushing the total dose count to nearly 70 crore.
It may be noted here that India needs to administer a minimum of 188 crore doses to fully vaccinate all adults.
Yesterday, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare tweeted that India had administered a record 18 crore doses in the month of August alone, more than what all G7 nations put together did during the month.
While this is an impressive feat, it is not a true measure of India’s vaccination progress as the country is far behind G7 in terms of coverage.
What India has achieved and how far it has yet to go can be understood from the following map.
On the basis of the average achieved in August, India has been vaccinating nearly 64 lakh people daily. That’s more than the entire population of over 120 countries.
Currently, India stands at No. 2 internationally as far as the total doses administered is concerned. This is second only to China.
Some Indian states have done rather impressively in terms of population coverage.
Himachal Pradesh recently became the first state in India to administer at least a dose to all adults, which is way above the national average.
Even heavily populated states like Kerala and Gujarat have had an impressive single-dose coverage rate of 84.6% and 75% respectively.
Vaccination in India compared with that in G7
Of course, the government’s comparison of India’s August vaccination numbers with that of G7 nations is not incorrect, but the country still has a long way to go before it can achieve optimum coverage.
Relatively speaking, India has administered just 49 doses per 100 people. The same figure is above 100 for every G7 nation — Canada, US, UK, France, Germany, Italy and Japan.
All G7 countries with the exception of Japan have fully vaccinated over half their eligible population while India has covered only over 11%.
Countries like the UK and the US, which started their vaccination programmes a month ahead of India, had reached their September levels as early as March itself. This way, whereas India has taken impressive strides in its vaccination drive, the sheer size of its population does put it at a natural disadvantage when it comes to other nations.
Where’s India headed?
The union government’s target of 100% adult coverage by the end of this year is achievable if India is able to vaccinate daily at the right pace.
At the current rate, on the basis of the average of the last 30 days, it can be said that India will be able to vaccinate nearly 76% of its adults by the year-end and achieve 100% coverage in March 2022.
While this is not bad either, the threat of a likely third Covid wave and new variants will continue to loom large unless we are able to vaccinate the maximum possible people soon.