Delhi: Despite a 181% increase in the daily rate of vaccination from 1.9 million doses per day in May to 5.4 million in August 2021, India is likely to miss the goal of fully vaccinating all adults by December 2021. At the current rate of 5.4 million doses per day, all eligible Indians would be vaccinated by mid-April 2022.

In May 2021, the Indian government had announced that it would vaccinate 1.08 billion Indians by December 2021. India would have to administer around 9.8 million doses each day from August 23, 2021 to vaccinate all adults, our analysis shows. In over seven months of the vaccination drive, India has never administered 9.8 million doses or more on a single day. The most vaccines, over 8.8 million, were administered on August 16.

In an affidavit filed on June 26, 2021, the government told the Supreme Court that it would be able to procure 1.35 billion vaccines between August and December 2021, which would be enough to fully vaccinate the adult population--if these many vaccines are in fact available, and 9.8 million doses can be administered daily.

Vaccination is the surest way to reduce hospitalisation and deaths from Covid-19. This will not only help ease the pressure on the health system but also reduce the possibility of mutations in the SARS-CoV-2 virus. In all, India had administered 582 million doses by August 22, and had fully vaccinated 9.7% of the population. Vaccinating children is getting increasingly urgent as schools begin to reopen.

India kicked off its vaccination drive on January 16, 2021, in phases. In the first phase, only healthcare workers (HCWs) and frontline workers (FLWs) were vaccinated. By August 22, 2021, 49.4 million doses have been administered to HCWs and FLWs, and 79% of HCWs and over 62% of FLWs are fully vaccinated, as per data from the health ministry. In the second phase, from March 1, 2021, people over the age of 45 years with comorbidities and over 60 were eligible for the vaccine. From April 1,2021 onwards, all those above the age of 45 years were eligible for the vaccine, and from May 1, 2021, all adults could take the vaccine.

Correction: An earlier version of the report erroneously said 9.8% of the adult population has been fully vaccinated. The correct data are that India has fully vaccinated 9.7% of its total population, which is equal to 14% of the adult population. We regret the error.

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