Covid vaccination drive: 238 mn doses per month needed to meet Dec target

ByAbhishek Jha, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Jun 02, 2021 07:29 AM IST

According to CoWIN dashboard, the fastest rate at which India has vaccinated people so far is 3.8 million doses per day

For India to meet its target of vaccinating its entire adult population by the end of 2021, the country needs to administer 1.88 billion doses in total, of which 1.67 billion or 89% are yet to be administered. This means that the country needs to deliver 238 million doses every month from June or risk falling behind target, shows data analysed by HT.

Residents taking a dose of Covid-19 vaccine at a private vaccine center in New Public School Sector 18 in Chandigarh. (Keshav Singh/Hindustan Times)
Residents taking a dose of Covid-19 vaccine at a private vaccine center in New Public School Sector 18 in Chandigarh. (Keshav Singh/Hindustan Times)

To vaccinate everyone, including those below 18 years of age by the end of 2021, India needs to administer 2.51 billion doses from June to December, or 359 million doses every month from June.

In the race for vaccination, as is the case in a run chase in cricket, a slower run rate at the beginning of an innings requires slogging as the inning progresses. This concept may play a crucial role in India meeting its target, as if it falls behind in its initial months, the year-end target may get more and more difficult to meet.

Till May 31, the country has administered over 215 million doses, the third highest number of total doses delivered in any country (behind only China and the US).

According to the Co-WIN dashboard, the fastest rate at which India has vaccinated so far is 3.8 million doses per day (based on rolling seven-day average).

For June, the 120 million doses the government says will be available work out to four million doses a day, and administering these should not require any enhancement in existing infrastructure and manpower. However,at this rate, it will take until July 23, 2022, to vaccinate just the country’s adult population, leave alone the entire population (which would take till February 2022).

The required rate

According to a press briefing by Union minister Prakash Javadekar on Friday, India plans to vaccinate its entire eligible population by December. As against the 238 million doses per month needed for this from June onwards, India appears to be beginning this chase with a slower rate next month with only 120 million doses likely to be available. This means a higher required rate from July: 258 million doses per month for adult vaccination, and 398 million doses per month for universal vaccination.

What are the possible scenarios going forward? In May, 79.4 million doses were available, which is to increase to 120 million in June. This amounts to a 51% month-on-month growth in supply. Assuming the country is able to replicate this result in the coming months, India will have 181 million doses in July, 274 million in August, 414 million in September, and 626 million in October.

All of this would require a massive increase in infrastructure and manpower.

However, once the required rate matches the rate of supply (or scoring rate to use the cricket analogy), one can assume that the pace will be sufficient to meet the December target. This analysis shows that if the supply increases to 274 million per month by August – and stops there – then the adult population will be vaccinated by December. To vaccinate everyone by December, supply will have to keep growing at least until October at 51% per month.

How does this compare with rates so far?

To be sure, the government said on Tuesday it may have as many as 10 million doses available per day (translating to 300 million a month) in July and August – this is twice the highest single day doses administered in India till date (around 5 million). It isn’t clear how the government arrived at this number.

However, even at the rate of 5 million doses a day, it will take till April 27 next year for the country to cover adults and till October 2022 for the entire population.

As stated above, to vaccinate all adults by December, India needs to increase monthly supply to 274 million by August or daily doses to 9.13 million; and to vaccinate everyone,it needs to increase monthly supply to 626 million by October, or daily doses to 20.9 million.

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    Abhishek Jha is a data journalist. He analyses public data for finding news, with a focus on the environment, Indian politics and economy, and Covid-19.

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