Centre's target of supplying 51.5 crore COVID vaccine doses by July end may fall short by over 10%
Figures shared by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare show that while about 34 crore doses were supplied to states till June end, the projected availability of vaccines in July is 12 crore
NEW DELHI: A promise by the Centre to supply 51.5 crore Covid-19 vaccine doses to the states and Union Territories by July-end may fall short by over 10 per cent, an analysis of the vaccine supplies so far and the projections for this month shows. The figures shared by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare show that while about 34 crore doses of Covid-19 vaccines were supplied to the states till June end, the projected availability of vaccines in July is 12 crore.
Together, this adds up to 46 crore, 5.5 crore or 11 per cent lesser than the figure projected earlier by the government for supply till July. This shortfall in the projected supply of vaccines does not paint a happy picture, as only about 4.4 per cent of the 94 crore adult population in the country has been fully vaccinated so far. Of the projected supply of vaccines for July, 10 crore doses will be Covishield and 2 crore Covaxin — both in government and private hospitals.
A further break-up proposed by the government for this month shows that 7.5 crore Covishield doses will be supplied to the government hospitals, while 2.5 crore doses will go to the private entities. Similarly, 1.5 crore Covaxin doses will be available for government facilities and the private hospitals will get a share of only 50 lakh doses.
This is in line with the Centre’s revised Covid-19 vaccination strategy, under which it will directly procure and supply 75 per cent of the vaccine doses available in the country to government hospitals for free vaccination of all adults and the rest will be procured by private hospitals for paid vaccination. This new policy has come into effect from June 21.
A look at the daily Covid-19 vaccination graph, however, suggests that after reaching a peak of over 85 lakh daily vaccinations on this day, the figures have been dropping. In June, the average daily vaccination was less than 39 lakh doses and given that a maximum of 12 crore doses are available for July, the average daily vaccination for this month too will remain only about 40 lakh.
Biostatisticians, however, have estimated that in order to fully inoculate all of the adult population in the country by the year-end, 90 lakh doses should be administered daily a target that looks nearly impossible given the vaccine shortage at the moment.
Despite the Central government’s efforts to ramp up the production of vaccines in the country, it itself conceded in an affidavit in the Supreme Court recently that only about 135 crore vaccine doses may be available between August-December this year. This is a revision from its earlier and far more ambitious target of 216 crore vaccine doses projected for the last five months of the year.