NEW DELHI: A day after India achieved nearly 86 lakh daily Covid vaccinations as the union government took over the task of supplying free vaccines for adults in all government hospitals across India, the vaccination numbers fell by nearly 40 per cent on Tuesday.
A total of 52.83 lakh vaccine doses were administered on Tuesday, in comparison to 86.16 lakh doses given on Monday as all adults became eligible to receive the shots free of cost in government hospitals across the country.
Nearly 64 per cent of the doses administered on Monday were in rural areas and nearly 65,000 of total 67,000 Covid vaccination centres were government facilities while women comprised about 46 per cent of the total vaccine recipients.
Senior authorities conceded that while Monday’s show was a sign of India’s ability to vaccinate at scale, it will remain a challenge to sustain the momentum per day even during the remaining days this month.
Officials said that of about 12 crore vaccine doses available for June, 9.5 crore doses have already been exhausted which leaves only about 2.5 crore doses for 8 days.
“Monday was actually an orchestrated capacity demonstration to show that we are capable of carrying out this high number of vaccinations but current dose supplies might constrain efforts to sustain the pace,” a top official in the Union health ministry said.
From Monday, the Union government is responsible for procuring and supplying 75 % of the total vaccines available in the country which will be used for inoculating all adults in government hospitals while 25 per cent vaccines will be available for procurement by private hospitals.
V K Paul, who heads the national Covid task force and the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for Covid-19, underscored that the day one vaccination figures demonstrate India's ability to carry out vaccination on large scale for days and weeks together.
“All this was possible because of planning and coordination between central and state governments and taking up the task work in mission mode," said Paul.
“We need to do our daily work, maintain our social life, open schools, businesses, take care of our economy; we will be able to do all this only when we are able to vaccinate at a fast pace”.
N K Arora, chairperson of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation in India, on the other hand said the country could even achieve 1.25 crore vaccinations in a day.
“This is not unprecedented. In one week, we give polio vaccines to around 17 crore children,” he said.