NEW DELHI: Despite claims by the Centre to make available nearly 20 crore Covid-19 vaccine doses in August, average daily inoculations in the month so far has been about 44 lakh, marginally above the July figures.
From August 1 to 13, just about 5.7 crore vaccine doses were administered in India. Average daily vaccination was 44, 44,562. It indicates that unless there is a significant supply step-up over the next two weeks, total doses administered this month will hover only around 13-14 crores at the most. In July, nearly 40 lakh average daily vaccinations were carried out, when total supplies were nearly 12 crore.
For August, various senior government authorities had projected that nearly 15 crore doses of Covishield, 3-4 crore doses of Covaxin and 1 crore doses of Sputnik V would be available. The situation on ground seems different.
A look at the government’s CoWin dashboard that updates daily vaccination numbers, suggests that the highest daily vaccination this month thus far has been a little over 65 lakh. But the average daily vaccination plummeted to 17 lakh on days, mostly on weekends.
Overall, in the country since January, over 54 crore vaccine doses have been administered, but less than 12 crore Indians are fully vaccinated yet. The government had set a target of vaccinating all 95 crore adults (approx) in India by December, but later revised its projected availability of vaccines.
Experts have estimated that nearly 90 lakh shots need to be administered every day, if that goal is to be achieved but even insiders now concede that this may not be possible. “Except for June 21, we have not touched 70 lakh daily vaccinations. Production figures are going high as shown by the government and vaccine makers but it is not reflecting in the supplies,” said a vaccine expert attached with WHO India.
An internal note prepared by the Union health ministry, for instance, had said that in August, nearly 25.5 crore doses of the two vaccines will be manufactured, while it will go to a little above 26 crore in September and 28 crore in October. The note by the government had also mentioned that between August and December, over 136 crore doses of Covishield and Covaxin would be manufactured in India.