Wide variation in coverage across states marks India’s vaccine drive
India’s vaccination drive has been open to adults across age groups for 40 days and several variations in coverage are clear across the country’s states, data analysed by HT shows. While Himachal Pradesh is the clear leader in terms of administering doses to the largest proportion of its adults (38%), states such as Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Tamil Nadu have not managed give a single shot to even 15% of those eligible for vaccines.
Delhi leads in administering doses to those in the 18-45 years age group with 17.3% of residents in the category having received a shot, while Chhattisgarh brings up the bottom of the list with only 3.7% those between 18 and 45 receiving jabs.
Tamil Nadu is not only among states that has covered less than 15% of its eligible population, its coverage of the 45+ years age group (20.4%) is the worst among all 23 regions for which population projections are available for 2021 from the National Commission on Population. Given the high social development indicators and the relatively good public health infrastructure in the state, the numbers may point to significant vaccine hesitancy.
Till 5pm on Wednesday, India administered 191.9 million first doses of Covid-19 vaccines across different age groups, according to data uploaded on the Co-WIN dashboard. Of these, 50.5 million doses went to people in the 18-45 age group, 79.2 million to those in the 45-60 age group, and 62.2 million to those above 60.
Yet, because 63% of all adults in India are in the 18-45 age group, only 8.5% of this category has been covered, whereas 38.2% of the 45-60 group (they form 22% of the eligible population) and 45.1% of the 60 and above age group (14.7% of the eligible population) has been given at least one dose.
So, how are states faring in vaccinating the old and the young?
The states that have vaccinated a low share of their eligible population are unsurprisingly behind in vaccinating both the old and the young. These are Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Assam, Jharkhand, West Bengal, and Punjab. These six states have given first doses to less than 20% of adults, with 27%-36% coverage in the 45 and above age group and 5.1%-7.6% coverage in the 18-45 age group.
Though Tamil Nadu is also among states that has covered less than 20% of adults, it has managed to a vaccinate a higher share (9.1%) of the 18-45 age group than these six states.
The vaccination of the 45+ age group appears to be a good barometer for overall coverage as it has a direct correlation with the share of overall eligible population given the first dose. The top 11 of the 23 regions for which population projections are available are also the top 11 regions in coverage of the 45+ age group, although their precise ranks may vary slightly. Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, for instance, are 7th and 10th in covering their overall eligible population, but 3rd and 4th in covering their 45+ group.
However, there is poor correlation between the coverage of the overall population and the 18-45 group. For instance, Chhattisgarh, which is 10th in overall coverage, has vaccinated the least share of its 18-45 age group among all the 23 regions.
This anomaly in vaccinating the 18-45 age group is evident in the wide variation in the share of doses given to the 18-45 population with respect to the share of the age group in the eligible population. MP, for instance, has given 39% of its doses to this younger age group, which has a share of 65% in the eligible population. In other words, it has given 0.59 times doses to the 18-45 age group relative to its share in population. This relative share is 0.14 for Chhattisgarh. The highest relative share of vaccinating the 18-45 age group (0.65 in Tamil Nadu) is 4.7 times than the lowest (0.14 in Chhattisgarh). The difference between regions in the relative share of vaccinating the 45+ age group is much less; the highest (2.6 in Chhattisgarh) is only 1.8 times the lowest (1.5 in Tamil Nadu). To be sure, this relative share is bound to be higher for the older age group in all states simply because this is the segment that became eligible for vaccination on March 1 (60+) , and then, subsequently, on April 1 (45+). The 18-45 segment became eligible for vaccines only on May 1.