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As Centre plans to vaccinate all above 18 years, here’s how the performance has been so far –

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The vaccination drive will be opened up for all above the age of 18 from May 1, the Central government announced on April 19. The immunisation drive was currently restricted to only citizens aged above 45.

More than 12.38 crore vaccinations have been administered across India on the 93-day since the drive began on January 16, according to the April 19 update, with 12,30,007 new vaccinations reported in the last 24 hours. 

The government’s decision to open up vaccines for all above the age of 18 years comes amidst surging cases across the country. India has reported more than 2 lakh new cases for the last five consecutive days. While on the other hand the pace of daily vaccinations has increased in the recent past, it been fluctuating, data show. 

Thus, it will be a colossal task and a long road ahead for the government to vaccinate a major group of population. Production and supply of vaccine doses will be key to increase and maintain the pace of immunisation to cover India’s humongous population. 

Of the total vaccinations administered till date, 87 percent are recipients of their first dose while 13 percent have received the second dose. About 7.9 percent of the country’s population (based on 2021 projections) has received at least one vaccine dose, while 1.2 percent have received their second dose.

About 40 percent of the total doses administered (both first and second) have been in the age group 60 years and above, followed by 45-60 age group (34 percent). Healthcare and frontline workers account for 26 percent of the total doses administered.

Among states, Maharashtra has administered the most nearly 12.3 million vaccine doses, followed by Rajasthan (10.9 million) and Uttar Pradesh (10.7 million). 

To add some perspective, Maharashtra accounts for 9.9 percent of the total doses administered till date, higher than its (9.1 percent) share in the country’s total population (based on projected population for 2021). Rajasthan whose population (5.8 percent) is much lower compared to Maharashtra has fared better in administering the doses–with a 8.8 percent share in total jabs. 

Look at it another way, Maharashtra has administered 99 doses per 1,000 population, much lower compared to some of the larger states such as Chhattisgarh (168), Gujarat (150) and Rajasthan (137). States such as  Uttar Pradesh and Bihar–among the most populous–rank at the bottom.

As per the new Liberalised and Accelerated Phase 3 Strategy: “Government of India, from its share, will allocate vaccines to States/UTs based on the criteria of extent of infection (number of active Covid cases) and performance (speed of administration). Wastage of vaccine will also be considered in this criteria and will affect the criteria negatively,” the Centre said.

“Vaccine manufacturers incentivised to further scale up their production, as well as attract new national and international players,” the government said in its release. 

Manufacturers would transparently make an advance declaration of the price for 50 percent supply that would be available to state governments and in the open market, before May 1, 2021.

“Based on this price, state governments, private hospitals, industrial establishments, etc would be able to procure vaccine doses from the manufacturers,” the Centre said. 

Private vaccination providers shall transparently declare their self-set vaccination price. The eligibility through this channel would be opened up to all adults, i.e. everyone above the age of 18, the statement further noted.