Modi govt promised to vaccinate 1 cr people daily, but only 40 lakh doses a day on average available in July
Country has only 12.53 crore vaccination doses left for July, which comes to an average of 40.4 lakh doses per day, according to an affidavit submitted by the Union government in the Supreme Court
India will not be able to meet its vaccination target in July and is even more unlikely to meet its targeted vaccination numbers for the year too.
The country has only 12.53 crore vaccination doses left for July, which comes to an average of 40.4 lakh doses per day, according to an affidavit submitted by the Union government in the Supreme Court. The government’s vaccination target from mid-July onwards was 1 crore beneficiaries. The Centre filed the affidavit in connection with the suo motu case being heard by the Supreme Court with regard to COVID-19 issues.
According to the affidavit, the Union government had ordered 11 crore doses of Covishield and 5 crore doses of Covaxin for supply from May to July 2021. Of this, Serum Institute of India has supplied only 3.47 crore Covishield doses and 7.53 crore doses remain.
Bharat Biotech has not yet begun supplying its doses as of June 23, 2021, for the May to July 2021 segment. It is not immediately clear when the firm would begin supplying its May to July order and if it does not, even fewer people are likely to be vaccinated in July.
The Modi government has stated in the affidavit that the total population of the country aged 18 years and above is approximately 93-94 crore.
As of June 2021, only 5.5 crore people have been fully vaccinated, which is just 4% of the population. Only 32.4 crore vaccine doses have been given until now.
As such, administering two doses to beneficiaries would require an estimated 188 crore vaccine doses. The government hopes that 51.6 crore doses will be made available by July 31. Of the 51.6 crore doses, 7.6 crore vaccine (6.6 crore Covishield and 1 crore Covaxin) doses have been received and utilised by the government. 12 crore vaccine doses were due by May 2021, of which the government has received only 11.7 crore doses.
The government had also included 2 crore Sputnik V vaccine doses to be available between May and July 2021 in the 51.6 crore available doses. However, as of June 27, there has been an indefinite delay in the roll-out of Sputnik V in the country. The Sputnik V vaccine requires storage at -18°C and India has only 29,116 cold chain points across the country.
Dr Reddy’s Laboratories has been importing the vaccine shots from Russia and Apollo Hospitals had stated earlier that they would begin the commercial roll-out of the vaccine by June 25 in the national capital. Apollo Hospitals in Hyderabad had started administering the vaccine as a part of their pilot programme in Telangana. However, the company had said that it would be vaccinating only its own employees as part of the pilot.
If 51.6 crore vaccine doses are made available by July 31, then 135 crore doses would be required to completely vaccinate the remaining population in the country between August to December 2021, the government stated in its affidavit.
The government included 30 crore Bio E sub unit vaccine doses, 5 crore Zydus Cadila DNA vaccine doses and 10 crore doses of Sputnik V doses in the 135 crore vaccine doses. Trials of neither Bio E vaccine nor Zydus Cadilla have been completed in the country. The projected dates for the completion of both trials are September and August respectively.
Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna and Novavax have not been included in the projected list of vaccines.
From August onwards until the end of the year, SII is supposed to supply 50 crore Covishield doses and Bharat Biotech is supposed to supply 40 crore Covaxin doses.
However, as of June 12, Bharat Biotech has supplied 2.8 crore vaccine doses when they were required to supply 8 crore doses by May 31. It will not be able to supply the required vaccines unless they ramp up production.
Maharashtra govt-owned Haffkine Biopharmaceutical Corporation has been given the nod to produce Covaxin, but it will take it a year to start production.
Last week, India was vaccinating more than 50 lakh people daily and it had touched a high of 64 lakh. This week, it has fallen to below 50 lakh and on June 28, India vaccinated 48.76 lakh people. It is likely to fall further in July.
Indian Council of Medical Research chief Balram Bhargava had stated on June 1, 2021 that by mid-July, India will have enough COVID-19 vaccines to inoculate one crore people every day. He had added that there would be no vaccine shortage in the country. However, the government affidavit reveals otherwise.