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Synopsis: Given the Indian population, vaccinating all adults itself is a challenge in India, given that supply challenges still persist.
Recently, India administered a record 2.5 crore vaccine shots in a day to mark the celebration of the Prime Minister’s birthday. It is equivalent to the populations of the whole of Australia, two-thirds of Canada and five times that of New Zealand. It is also near to China’s pace of vaccination of 2.47 crore shots on a single day.
Till now, 62% of Indian adults have now got at least one dose, and one in five fully are vaccinated.
What are the problems with vaccination drives?
Vaccine Hesitancy: People, owing to various reasons, hesitate in taking vaccines. Like in the USA, where vaccine availability is good, but people are hesitant.
Shortage of vaccines: In India, there is a supply shortage even when vaccine production continues. This would make it difficult for India to achieve its target to immunize its adult population (about 94 crores) by the year-end, as it will require over 185 crore doses, or close to one crore immunisations a day. India has till now crossed the 80 crore mark.
What should the government do?
India’s caseload is reducing, with about 30,000 cases per day. India has also faced the delta variant, and chances of new variants coming up still exist. So vaccination cannot be ignored.
As schools would reopen in winter, the load to vaccinate children would also rise. So, it is a must for India to raise its supplies to meet the upcoming demand. For this government should:
Prioritize the vaccines process: Government should first provide vaccines to those States and districts that are at greatest infection risk.
Speed up: Proper follow-up with vaccine makers to speed up the process.
Source: This post is based on the article “A Spike” published in The Hindu on 20th September 2021.