Only way to decrease variants of COVID is by increasing vaccination: Gagandeep Kang

By Express News Service
NEW DELHI:  Despite Covid-19 vaccinations being thrown open to all above the age of 18 on May 1, there has been a 40% decline in the average daily number of vaccinations administered this month compared to the previous month. 

An analysis of the government data by this newspaper showed that a total of 8,91,01,433 vaccine doses were administered in April to people from various age groups across the country, at an average rate of 29,70,047 doses per day. In comparison, between May 1 and 25, only 4,40,24,631 jabs were administered—an average rate of 17,60,985 shots per day. In other words, this is 40.7% lower than the average daily vaccination rate recorded in April. 

The figures by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare meanwhile underlined that India has vaccinated 20 crore people as of Wednesday morning—130 days after India began vaccinating its people against Covid-19. More than 34% of the population above the age of 45 has received at least one dose of a vaccine to date. India’s adult population is about 94 crore while the vaccine production capacity is about eight crore doses per month.

As of now, India has approved three vaccines—Covaxin, Covishield, and Russia’s Sputnik V—against Covid-19. Efforts to procure other vaccines from abroad are yet to yield any concrete results.  It is unclear why only 4.4 crore vaccine doses were administered so far this month despite the production capacity far exceeding this number.

Meanwhile, experts stress a quick expansion of the vaccination drive is important to reduce the number of deaths caused by Covid-19. “The more people in the vulnerable groups or people with risk factors being unvaccinated would have an impact on the mortality,” said Oommen John, a public health researcher. “Evidence from elsewhere indicates that vaccination coverage has an impact on transmission,” John said.