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3.17 crore doses of Covid vaccines administered in two months | India News – Times of India

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NEW DELHI: India administered over 3.17 crore doses of Covid vaccines in two months since the launch of the mega vaccination drive on January 16, even as limited availability of jabs, health infrastructure and initial hesitancy has restrained the coverage.
Only around 1.48 crore health and frontline workers, around 50% of the total 3 crore workforce identified under this category to receive the shots on priority, have been covered till Monday (7 pm). 43.97 lakh health and 13.23 lakh frontline workers have also received the second dose of the vaccine so far.
On Monday, 18.63 lakh doses of the vaccines were given till 7pm.
The low vaccination coverage has emerged as a major concern particularly in the wake of many states witnessing a second surge in Covid-19 cases resulting in a steady rise in daily overall case count.
Experts point at an urgent need to ramp up coverage by relaxing age restrictions, targeted vaccinations in high-burden districts, increasing the intervening period between two doses to achieve maximum coverage with available doses and allowing more vaccines to expand the vaccine kitty.
“In view of the large number of unvaccinated people, who are likely to become victims of possible second surge, it is important to step up vaccination fast in currently given categories and additionally, open it up to all up to 30 years age. Any possible shortage of vaccines could be made up by including more vaccines, increasing production and delaying the second dose of Covidshield vaccine up to 8-12 weeks which has been suggested by the WHO,” says Dr Anoop Misra, Chairman, Fortis C-Doc.
“Not covering the vulnerable population fast and wide enough is a missed opportunity. There is a mismatch between demand and supply; production constraints might be a limiting factor,” says Giridhar Babu, member of National Task Force for Covid-19 and epidemiologist at Public Health Foundation of India.
Though the immunization coverage against Covid-19 expanded with government extending vaccination to those above 60 years age and those between 60 and 45 years with specified co-morbidities from March 1, it still remains moderate as most of the population is still waiting to get their shot.
Of the total 3.17 crore vaccine doses administered till Monday evening, around 35% were given to age-prioritised population.
Officials say availability of more vaccines and increased private sector participation is required in specific states to expand coverage.
“Opening up other categories will not help unless supplies improve. We would not like to have a situation where people are demanding vaccine and are not getting it or one who has received a first dose, is not getting the second one. So, vaccine supplies need to be ensured. Besides, there has to be vaccinators. We have been asking private sector to create more sessions but even they have their constraints because other non-Covid services cannot be compromised,” a health ministry official said.
“Permit Sputnik, Moderna and J&J’s vaccine for use in India. Get the companies to access market in India at regulated price. In the meantime, commission rapid studies to prospectively examine the immunogenicity, safety & efficacy for two doses with different vaccines,” says Babu.
While the government is already considering these suggestions, officials urge people to come out for vaccination.
“The capacity on many days is still under-utilised because some people are still hesitant and some states are lagging in implementing the drive,” the official said.



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