Where India's Vaccination Drive Stands In Mid-August

by Venu Gopal Narayanan - Aug 16, 2021 12:30 AM
Where India's Vaccination Drive Stands In Mid-August India's Vaccination drive from 1-14 August
Snapshot
  • As of midnight on 14 August, 422 million Indians had been vaccinated with at least one dose. That represents over a third of the total population, and close to half of all adults.

India celebrated her 75th Independence Day in style, by clocking over 75 million vaccine jabs in August. This significant achievement in our struggle against the Wuhan virus is symbolic of a traditional resilience which manifests itself in times of crisis.

The importance of this milestone is manifold. A year ago, vaccines seemed like a pipe dream; we knew they might come, but we didn’t know when, or, whether they would protect us effectively from the Chinese contagion. Vaccine skepticism was the precursor then, to a vaccine hesitancy which followed.

A year later, not only have the vaccines reached us in bulk, but they have also proved to be the perfect, timely foil to a potential third wave, which looked set to be triggered by the continued festering of clusters in certain parts of the country.

The numbers are so large that they start to lose meaning. As of midnight on Partition Day, 422 million Indians had been vaccinated with at least one dose. That represents over a third of the total population, and close to half of all adults.

Vaccine production is rising consistently, and distribution is settling into a steadier rhythm. In July 2021, the production target was 120 million doses, against which, India administered 133 million doses. In August, the monthly production target is 150 million does. Against this, the tally in the first 14 days has already crossed the halfway mark, with 17 days left to go. In all probability, that means we would overshoot 150 million by a fair bit before the month ends.

A gap does presently persist between the daily rates of first and second doses, but this is primarily a function of the high vaccination cycle which was set in late June (which in itself is a function of rising vaccine production), and will start closing in September. The current trends are shown in Chart 1 below:

Chart 1: Daily vaccination data for August 2021
Chart 1: Daily vaccination data for August 2021

Chart 2 below shows that there is also a wide spread at present, for vaccine coverage achieved by different states. However, as identified earlier by Swarajya, this disparity is a mixture of legacy gaps in public health infrastructure, large rural demographics, and constrained vaccine supplies, which are being covered up manfully on a war footing by the various administrations.

Chart 2: First dose coverage of adults by state
Chart 2: First dose coverage of adults by state

We see that West Bengal, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh are still edging past the 30 per cent mark for first doses given, while Gujarat and Kerala have already inoculated over 60 per cent.

Naturally, then, this spread widens when we look at full coverage in Chart 3 below:

Chart 3: Second dose coverage of adults by state.
Chart 3: Second dose coverage of adults by state.

A number of states are still in the single digits, while a few, like Kerala, Gujarat and Delhi have fully vaccinated over a fifth of their adults. We must however underscore the fact that these standings will improve significantly in the coming month, as the vaccine rollout ramps up. The implication is that the gaps would narrow in September.

Most importantly, though, the principal finding of this mid-month review is that all of the states and Union Territories are well on track to meeting their monthly targets. Indeed, as data compiled by Swarajya contributor Suraj S shows, all provinces were near the halfway mark, or past it, before half the month was over. The inference is that all will cross their August targets ahead of schedule, provided vaccine supplies continue on trend.

In conclusion, the data shows that the largest vaccination drive on the planet is what is permitting India to lift lockdown restrictions, so that the economy may grow once more, while simultaneously providing protection from clusters, which continue to fester in some states due to administrative inefficiency. Also, the fact that over 99 per cent of the vaccines we receive are manufactured in India, provides a reassuring, homespun feel to this stupendous effort.

Data from Covid19india.org and Suraj S (@surajbrf on Koo and Twitter)

Venu Gopal Narayanan is an independent upstream petroleum consultant who focuses on energy, geopolitics, current affairs and electoral arithmetic. He tweets at @ideorogue.
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