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Daily vaccinations drop in July after a record high in June, Modi govt blames states

As of 11 July, daily vaccination average is down to 33,88,751 doses from 39,88,979 doses in June. Health ministry officials blame lack of planning by states and vaccine hesitancy.

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New Delhi: India’s average daily vaccinations have fallen by around 6 lakh doses per day compared to the numbers in June.

In June, 39,88,979 vaccine doses were administered every day on average. However, the daily vaccination average dropped to 33,88,751 in the first 11 days of July.

The total vaccine doses available to states, meanwhile, remained the same — 12 crore — for both June and July.

Government officials have cited “lack of planning” on the part of the states and increasing vaccine hesitancy as the reason for the lag.

While the central government’s stated daily vaccination target is 1 crore, the number is unlikely to be achieved any time soon, largely because the requisite 30 crore doses per month supply is still far off.

The central government also recently revised its five-month (August to December) target of administering a total of 216 crore vaccine doses to around 186 crore doses but maintained that all eligible citizens will be vaccinated with at least one dose of the vaccine by the end of the year.

When asked about the still elusive daily target of 1 crore vaccine doses, Joint Secretary Lav Agarwal cited supply and production of vaccines as a reason during the government’s Covid-19 briefing Friday.

“We started with 2.35 lakh vaccine doses per day, now we have come to 41 lakh. We have to understand the challenge. Supply and production has been enhanced with hand-holding with the manufacturer in the last six months. It is critical that this process of vaccine logistics management is done in just in time approach. The management approach in identifying how many vaccines we will get from manufacturers, testing them, doing advance planning on distribution all of that happens simultaneously,” Agarwal said.

He added: “We have been working and collaborating with states to ensure 75 per cent vaccines are available. We should not get deterred by these kinds of targets — the target is not 1 crore alone, the target is to cover as early as possible the required population of this country. We are working with states on ensuring supplies, distribution and cutting edge planning.”

Vaccination Graphic of June and July numbers by Soham Sen | ThePrint
Graphic by Soham Sen | ThePrint

Also read: Delta variant of ‘great concern’, aggressive vaccine drive needed in India, ICMR journal says

‘It is a question of planning’

Currently, 75 per cent of all vaccines that are being manufactured in India are being distributed to states, in proportion to their population.

According to a health ministry official, it is for the states to make the vaccine supply last the whole month, irrespective of what their daily vaccination capacities may be.

Speaking about reports of vaccination centres being forced to close down in states like Delhi and Punjab, the official said: “Every state is told way in advance what the total number of doses of vaccine is that will be available to it. Now it is upon them to space it out in such a way that they can continue vaccinations for the entire month.”

He added: “If in a frenzy they do a lot of vaccinations in one day or for four days and then run out of vaccines for the rest of the month then we cannot help it because the limiting factor is manufacturing capacity and right now the government of India is talking to the industry and trying its best to increase those numbers.”

The official also noted that since vaccine supplies are replenished periodically there may be gaps or a slowing down of the process at the beginning of the month, subject to distribution issues. “By the end of the month, that should stabilise,” he said.

India administered a record 86.16 lakh vaccine doses on 21 June, which also marked the beginning of the new phase of vaccine distribution, wherein the central government started procuring vaccines and distributing them to states.

However, since then, daily numbers have hovered around the 40-lakh range, breaching the 50-lakh mark in one or two instances in the last week of June.

“The overall distribution of vaccines is linked to production and it is done systematically. The visibility of the vaccine in the near future is also shared with state governments so that they can plan accordingly. As availability increases, the base should pick up and there may be more centres,” Dr V.K. Paul, member (health) in the NITI Aayog, said at the Covid briefing.

“It has to be a well-calibrated process. Obviously the second dose is a priority. These things state governments and central teams and authorities are carefully balancing. I also urge that vaccine availability in the private sector should be utilised optimally and we should encourage people and help people to receive vaccines from the private channel as well,” he said.

Also read: ‘Supply shortage, hesitancy, reluctance to pay’ — why Punjab did poorly on Covid vaccination


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