Young, Indian, Unvaccinated: The world's largest inoculation drive falters

2 days ago

Healthcare, frontline workers the elderly were the first eligible, followed by people aged over 45 in April then adults aged 18-45 in May

Topics
Coronavirus | Coronavirus Vaccine | Coronavirus Tests

Reuters 

India began an inoculation drive for its 1.38 billion people in earnest in mid-January.

Healthcare, frontline workers the elderly were the first eligible, followed by people aged over 45 in April then adults aged 18-45 in May.

That last extension, covering around 43% of the population, proved to be a crunch point.

Following a surge in COVID-19 infections across the country in April, Prime Minister Narendra Modi accelerated plans to broaden the programme opened up vaccinations from May 1 for people aged between 18 45 years.

The decision led to a rush by people in that age group, who account for 600 million of the population, to sign up to the government’s CoWIN vaccination website. Critically, t was no corresponding increase in vaccine supplies.

By June 4, India had provided at least one dose to roughly 50 million people aged between 18 44, representing just 8% of that population group.

Adding to the difficulties, a privilege gap emerged in the vaccination rollout, with hospitals charging different prices for the same vaccine. Some hospitals in affluent areas have sold the Covishield shot, manufactured in India, for 1,800 rupees ($25) a dose, almost double the 950 rupees charged elsew.

Also, urban Indians have received shots faster than those living in the countryside. That means vaccines remain unavailable to a large part of the population that cannot afford it or has little or no access to private hospitals.

VACCINE IMPORTER

India - the world's biggest producer of vaccines for polio, diphtheria other diseases - sold or donated more than 66 million COVID-19 vaccine shots to 95 countries until the middle of April.

But as infections started rising from around mid-March in India, the clamour for vaccines at home also increased. India has now started importing vaccines also expecting donations from the United States.

The government expects vaccine supplies to improve substantially from June. It is expecting to produce enough shots by December to inoculate all of its estimated 950 million adults, though those between 18 45 years will be the last on the priority list.

Several states in India have begun to gradually lift restrictions on travel businesses, after a fall in cases in recent weeks. However, health experts have warned that cases could surge again once most states re-open, have called for vaccinations to be sped up.

As of June 8, less than 4% of India’s adult population had been given the required two vaccine doses. Nearly 14% received at least one dose , of that group, less than one-tenth of 18-45 year olds have been inoculated.

(This story has not been edited by Business Stard staff is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Dear Reader,


Business Stard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information commentary on developments that are of interest to you have wider political economic implications for the country the world. Your encouragement constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed updated with credible news, authoritative views incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.
We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better more relevant content. We believe in free, fair credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism subscribe to Business Stard.

Digital Editor

Article Source