Express News Service

NEW DELHI:  A day after India reached a significant milestone of administering 1 billion Covid-19 vaccine doses, public health experts pointed out that the road ahead may be tough as the challenges include raising two dose coverage, tackling vaccine hesitancy and reaching remote areas.

As per government data, a little over 75% of the adult population in the country has received at least one dose of the vaccine while the percentage covered with both doses is just about 31%. Further breaking this data, health economist Rijo M John pointed out that India still has about 7 crore people above 45 who are yet to get their first dose while 19 crore who are above 45 years of age are yet to get their second dose.

Also, more than 3 crore people who are above 60 years of age have not received a single dose and 7.5 crore are yet to get their second dose, he said. Public health expert Anant Bhan said that the country should now focus on ensuring that the two dose coverage continues to rise, and that pockets where vaccination efforts might not have yet reached adequately are reached out, including continuing to address concerns about the vaccine and vaccination efforts.

“We must also keep track of global scientific buzz around the need for boosters, especially for subgroups,” he said. Virologist Shahid Jameel, fellow, Oxford University’s Green Templeton College said the emphasis should be on extending full vaccination coverage.