New policy spurs vaccine uptake

July 9, 2021 0 By S Harachand

India’s COVID-19 inoculation drive reached a new high by administering over 8.8 million doses on a single day on 21st June, the first day under the latest vaccination policy, according to official data.

The government announced the third version of its vaccine policy in early June. Under this, the union government would buy 75% of the vaccines manufactured in the country and give them to the states free of charge.  

India’s health minister Harsh Vardhan claimed that India holds the record for the highest number of vaccinations on day one. The figures are much higher than many other countries such as the USA, the UK and France, he added. For comparison, China currently administers over 20 million vaccinations per day.

India’s vaccination had reportedly fallen below 3 million doses per day during the second wave of COVID-19 in the country, after reaching a record of 4.5 million/day on Apr 5.

As per the new policy, India plans to immunise 950 million people by December 2021. To achieve this target, the country will have to ramp up vaccinations to 10 million shots per day from the current 6 million. Less than 5% of Indian adults have been fully vaccinated since January 16, when the drive began.

Under the latest policy, vaccine doses will be allocated to states and Union territories based on criteria such as population, disease burden and the achievement of vaccination milestones. All those above 18 years of age are eligible for the jabs.

The COVID vaccination in the country commenced with the vaccination of healthcare workers in January. The programme was then expanded to other frontline workers, those above 60 years of age, those older than 45 years, and finally, everyone above 18 years of age.