Centre's target of supplying 51.5 crore COVID vaccine doses by July end may fall short by over 10%

Express News Service
NEW DELHI: The Centre’s target of supplying India with 51.5 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses by July end may fall short by over 10%, shows an analysis of the vaccine supplies so far and the projections for this month.

The figures shared by the Union ministry of health and family welfare show that while about 34 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses were supplied to states till June end, the projected availability of vaccines in July is 12 crore.

Together this adds up to 46 crore, which is 5.5 crore or 11% less than the figure projected earlier by the government for supply till July.

The shortfall in the projected supply does not paint a happy picture as only about 4.4% of the 94 crore adult population in India have been fully vaccinated so far.

Of the projected supply of vaccines for July, there will be 10 crore doses of Covishield and 2 crore doses of Covaxin. A further break-up proposed by the government for this month shows that 7.5 crore Covishield doses will be supplied to government hospitals while 2.5 crore doses will go to private hospitals.

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Similarly, 1.5 crore Covaxin doses will be available for government facilities, while 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% of vaccine doses available in the country to government hospitals for free vaccination of all adults, while the rest will be procured by private hospitals for paid vaccinations.

This new policy came 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 the entire 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.

Despite the government’s efforts to ramp up the production of the vaccines in the country, it conceded in an affidavit in the Supreme Court recently that only about 135 crore vaccine doses may be available between August and December this year.

This is a revision from its earlier far more ambitious target of 216 crore vaccine doses projected for the last five months of the year.

Five states with the maximum vaccine supply this month

1. Uttar Pradesh — 1,91,16,830 doses

2. Maharashtra — 1,15,25,270 doses

3. Bihar — 91,81,930 doses

4. West Bengal — 90,12,680 doses

5. Tamil Nadu — 71,01,320