India's vaccination not fast enough to foil Covid-19 3rd wave: Report

Vaccine hesitancy and vaccine shortage are the two grey areas experts have highlighted claiming that vaccinating 80 lakh people in a day is a 'one-day wonder'.
India's vaccination pace has gone up but is not enough to resist Covid 3rd wave, experts have said. (PTI)
India's vaccination pace has gone up but is not enough to resist Covid 3rd wave, experts have said. (PTI)
Published on Jun 25, 2021 11:00 AM IST
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By | Written by Poulomi Ghosh

On June 21, India made a record by vaccinating around 80 lakh people against Covid-19 in a day. It marked the beginning of a fresh phase of India's ongoing vaccination drive, where the Central government has taken the control of the vaccination in the states - 75% of it. But according to experts, even this pace, which may not be sustainable going forward, is not fast enough for India, Bloomberg reported.

Bloomberg interviewed experts who questioned the record vaccination figure and interpreted it as an artificial push in the number engineered by some states.

What these experts said

Gautam Menon, a professor of physics and biology at Ashoka University, who also works on modelling outbreaks, said to Blomberg, "The single-day spike seems to have been the result of a concerted effort by some states, who may have stockpiled doses for this purpose. We would need to get to about 10 million doses per day to ensure that a future wave is less potent."

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Chandrakant Lahariya, a New Delhi-based epidemiologist and co-author of a book on India’s battle against Covid, called it “an overzealous attempt” to hit a record that would drain limited stocks, the news agency reported.

What are the issues?

As pointed out in the report, India has covered only 4 per cent of its population so far, despite banning exports of vaccines. While the availability of the doses is a concern, vaccine hesitancy in rural areas is also a serious issue, experts have said.

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"If an average pace of about 3.2 million daily doses is maintained, India will be able to vaccinate 45% of its adult population by year-end and 60% by the end of March 2022, Anubhuti Sahay and Saurav Anand, South Asia economists at Standard Chartered Plc, wrote in a report on Wednesday. They said that if more vaccines become available and the pace increases by 30%, India could fully immunize 55% by the end of 2021" -- the Bloomberg report said.

Covid 3rd wave and India's vaccination promise

The advent of the third wave of Covid-19 in India is in the realm of speculation and prediction. Experts working with the Centre have reiterated that both vaccines and Covid-appropriate behaviour are required to minimise the impact of a Covid wave. With the declining number of Covid cases, if people start crowding, the third wave will strike sooner -- within weeks, experts have said. As far as vaccination is concerned, the Centre earlier said India will be completely vaccinated by December 2021.

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