New Delhi: Only one in every five adults has been fully vaccinated in Uttar Pradesh, against a national average of one-in-three, putting India’s most populous state at the bottom of Covid vaccination performance in the country.
By Sunday (24 October), about 2.95 crore people in Uttar Pradesh had received their second shot of the vaccine, according to data released on the Co-Win dashboard. This is the second highest in absolute terms after Maharashtra, which has administered 2.97 crore doses.
However, according to Census 2011 population projections for 2021, Uttar Pradesh should currently have an estimated adult population of 14.74 crore. This means only about 20 per cent of adults in Uttar Pradesh are fully vaccinated.
Jharkhand, Bihar, Punjab, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu are other states where not even a third of the estimated population has been fully vaccinated.
Himachal Pradesh (58 per cent), Jammu & Kashmir (50 per cent) and Gujarat (50 per cent) have crossed the halfway mark, while Kerala (48 per cent), Delhi (47 per cent) and Andhra Pradesh (47 per cent) are nearing it.
Overall, a third of India’s approximately 94 crore adults have been fully vaccinated.
There are at least 13 states — and the Northeastern region (excluding Assam) — where more than one in every three persons is fully vaccinated.
The Census projections calculated the Northeast region excluding Assam as one entity, so individual rates for the remaining seven states could not be derived. Age-wise population projections were not available for Goa either.
India started its vaccination programme on 16 January, first targeting healthcare and frontline workers and those above 60 or 45-plus with comorbidities, before gradually extending it to the entire adult (18+) population. While the vaccines currently available don’t promise complete immunity against Covid-19, which has killed over 4.54 lakh people in India, they offer protection against severe disease and death.
The vaccines included in India’s Covid immunisation drive — Covaxin, Covishield and Sputnik V — all have two-dose regimens to activate their full potential.
Around 76.4 per cent of adults in India — or over three-fourths — have received at least one dose.
Goa and Himachal Pradesh have completed 100 per cent first-dose coverage.
Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar have administered the first dose to 1.4 crore, 9.5 crore and 4.8 crore adults, respectively, which is about 66 per cent of their adult population.
Vaccination in poll-bound states
Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, among the states with the lowest vaccine coverage as of now, are scheduled to go to the polls early next year, alongside Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa.
The government is making an effort to at least administer the first dose to the entire eligible population in poll-bound states, Hindustan Times had reported last month.
Speaking to ThePrint, Uttar Pradesh Health Secretary Amit Mohan Prasad said the state will have a 100 per cent vaccination rate “by the time elections are conducted”.
“The daily inoculation is already very high in the state — and with time, it will increase further,” he said.
In Punjab, where second-dose coverage stands at an estimated 26 per cent, and that for first dose at 70 per cent, efforts are underway to increase the pace of vaccination.
“The government is running mega camps three days a week prioritising the second dose, in order to fully vaccinate people faster,” said Rajesh Bhasker, Punjab’s nodal officer for Covid-19.
While Bhasker said it was difficult to predict the election-time immunisation levels, he added that all adults would have received at least one shot by the time the polls start.
In Uttarakhand, 45 per cent of the population is fully vaccinated and 92 per cent has received at least one dose.
(Edited by Sunanda Ranjan)