Himachal Pradesh leads the country, as vax pace maintains momentum
On September 16, India’s grand vaccination drive completed eight months. Till Thursday evening, the country administered over 771 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine, with six out of every 10 adults (61.9%) in the country having received at least one jab, and a little over two out of 10 (20.2%) having been fully vaccinated.
Three states (Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Goa) and four Union territories (Ladakh, Lakshadweep, Chandigarh, and Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu) have announced in the past two weeks that they have administered first doses to their entire populations.
A look at how different states are performing, and the road ahead for the country’s vaccination drive.
1. National vaccination drive off peak levels, but pace remains high
India’s pace of vaccination, which has been extremely patchy in the past, is currently going through one of its finest phases. In the past week, an average of 7 million daily doses has been administered across the country every day, according to HT’s Covid-19 dashboard. While this is a dip from the peak vaccination rate (for the week ended September 1, the seven-day average of daily doses touched a peak of 8.5 million doses), it is still better than anything seen till late August. One concern is that over the past week this number has been steadily dropping.
2. Himachal Pradesh leads in all metrics, with Kerala and Uttarakhand not far behind
Himachal Pradesh, which was India’s first state to cover its entire adult population with single doses on August 29, continues to lead the country in key vaccination metrics – population covered with at least one dose, and proportion of adults fully vaccinated. Around 63.7% of all adults in the state are partially vaccinated, while another 37.8% fully vaccinated. This translates into nearly 100% of the state’s estimated adult population (according to the Census of India’s National Commission on Population) having received at least one dose. To be sure, the coverage appears to exceed 100% because the adult population figures are projected estimates, and may be off by small margins in some regions.
In overall coverage, Uttarakhand is at the second spot with nearly 57.1% of the state’s adults partially vaccinated and 31.1% having received both doses of the vaccine – translating to around 88.2% of adults receiving at least one jab. Kerala, with 87.2% of adults receiving jabs, has the third highest overall coverage of population among states for which adult population projections were available. Interestingly, the state ranks second only to Himachal Pradesh in proportion of adults fully vaccinated – 35.4%. The numbers from the southern state are significant especially because it has been a hotspot over the past few months, accounting for, on some days, in excess of 60% of the country’s daily case total. However, the seven-day average of new infections in the state has now been consistently dropping over the past 10 days.
Gujarat, another large state, has covered 79.2% of its adults with at least a single dose and 30% are fully vaccinated. With 78% of adults having been jabbed, Madhya Pradesh wraps up the country’s Top 5 by overall coverage. The state, however, lags behind the national average in terms of second dose coverage (only 19.2% of MP’s adults are fully vaccinated), data shows. To be sure, disaggregated population projections are not available for the north-eastern states other than Assam, so they have been grouped together under a single category – “North-east excluding Assam”. This group is marginally ahead of the national average in overall coverage (64.6%), but fares among the best regions in the country in proportion of population fully vaccinated (27.7%).
At the other end of the spectrum, West Bengal has the lowest proportion of adults covered by a single dose in the country at 47.7%. It is followed by Jharkhand (49.3%), Uttar Pradesh (50.9%), Bihar (51.8%) and Telangana (53%), rounding off the bottom five. When the proportion of people fully vaccinated in taken into account, West Bengal (19.5% adults having received both jabs) drops out of the bottom five. Uttar Pradesh (10.5% adults fully vaccinated) is the lowest in the country, followed by Bihar (11.3%), Jharkhand (13.4%), Tamil Nadu (14.6%) and Assam (16.8%).
3. The states still maintaining an impressive pace
Another key statistic to monitor is the rate of vaccinations at the state-level. For this too, daily dose administration data is seen against a region’s population to give states of varying population a common comparison base. This is particularly interesting statistic to map for regions that have high overall coverage, because if there is vaccine hesitancy among some sections of the population, then it should reflect in a drop in numbers here.
In the past month, among India’s 10 states with best overall coverage, Kerala is again performing well – on average the state (despite its third highest overall coverage) has administered 9,861 doses per million adults every day, the highest in India. In second spot is Haryana (10th highest overall coverage) with 9,736 new doses administered per million adults per day. It is followed by Madhya Pradesh (fifth highest coverage; 9,144 doses per million) and Uttarakhand (third place overall, 9,086 doses).
This analysis shows that Kerala in particular, and Uttarakhand to some extent are states where the pace continues to be high despite a large proportion of adults already jabbed. For context, Himachal Pradesh is on the last spot in this metric (6,320 daily doses per million in the past month), but that is to be expected as the state is only giving second shots.
4. What's needed to cover all adults by end-December
While the pace of the drive has seen improvement, particularly from the low rates seen in previous months, data shows that there is still room for progress if India wants to achieve its stated target of vaccinating its entire adult population of 940 million by the end of 2021, a commitment the government has made in a submission to the Supreme Court. In total, India needed to administer around 1.88 billion doses by the end of the year to meet this target. Since 765 million of these have already been administered, that leaves around 1.115 billion doses to be administered in the remaining 107 days in the year, or 10.4 million doses every single day till December 31. While the country has come close to matching (even exceeding) this required rate on a few days it has not been able to do so on a daily basis.