Centre pays Rs 1,500 crore advance to Biological E for 30 crore doses

Express News Service
NEW DELHI: The government on Friday said that India has overtaken the US in terms of the number of people who have received at least the first dose of Covid vaccines.

Referring to global vaccination figures put together by Our World in Data, VK Paul, member (health), Niti Aayog said the number of people who have received at least one dose of Covid vaccine in India is now higher than in the US since Thursday.

“The data put out by Our World in Data shows that India has administered the first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine to 17.2 crore people. In the US, this figure is 16.9 crore. As of Thursday, we have overtaken the US in terms of the number of people who have received at least one dose,” he said.

He added that this dataset does not include China but while the UK had administered 3.9 crore first doses vaccine and this figure stood at 3.8 crore for Germany.

Most experts however have pointed out that comparison with other countries in terms of absolute number of vaccinations may not be appropriate given the country’s huge population as compared with other countries with much smaller populations. In the US for instance about 40% adults have been fully vaccinated, while this figure is less than 5% for India. 

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As per the statistics shared by the Union health ministry on Friday, India has so far covered around 43% people in the 60 plus category, and 37 % in the 45 plus age group category with at least one dose of a Covid vaccine.

“For us, the elderly population has a greater priority because of their vulnerability and high prevalence of comorbidities in this age group. I urge states to increase vaccination of senior citizens and urge them to come forward for vaccination,” said Paul.

Authorities also added that while the second wave of Covid is subsiding, India needs more time to ensure “high coverage” of vaccination for its population against coronavirus, stressing on the need for consistent containment measures.

In response to a question whether the covid vaccine by Pfizer, once available in India, will be administered to adolescents as is the case in some other countries, Paul said that vaccination can be opened for kids only when sufficient doses are available for the kids.

He added that Covaxin and the Covid vaccine candidate by Zydus Cadilla are being tested on children.  

“Hopefully we will have enough data in the next two weeks to decide whether the vaccine can be used on children or not,” he said. It just needs to be ascertained whether the vaccines have the similar immunogenicity in kids as in adults.