India's Covid-19 Vaccination Pace Trails Year-End Target Despite September Pick-Up
India's vaccination drive against Covid-19 continued to gather pace in September even as it fell short of the rate that's required to fully vaccinate all adults by the end of the year.
The country administered 23.64 crore jabs in September compared with 17.15 crore in August, a 23% rise, according to data available on the government’s CoWin dashboard. Daily average in September rose to 78.8 lakh from 55.3 lakh in the preceding month.
Daily inoculations in India exceeded 1 crore four times in September. In the past eight months of the world's largest Covid-19 vaccination programme, this happened twice before.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government had earlier said it expects to fully vaccinate all adults with two doses by 2021-end. But with just three months left, it's unlikely that the target will be achieved without a very significant ramp up. India, however, is on track to ensure that at least one dose will be given to all of its roughly 94 crore adult population.
To date, more than 88.94 crore vaccine shots have been given in India. Yet, only one in four have received the two doses required to provide sufficient protection against symptomatic disease.
If India needs to fully vaccinate the entire eligible population, it will have to increase its vaccine pace to 33 crore jabs a month for the remainder of the year. At the current speed, it would take nearly five months to give two doses to all adults.
Seven out of the eight most populous states in India—home to half the country's people—reported an increase in vaccination numbers in September.
A concerted effort by certain states to carry out widescale vaccination drives on Modi's birthday, on Sept. 17, also boosted numbers. India administered 2.51 crore doses that day. The record pace, however, could not be sustained.
Maharashtra saw the biggest uptick in September, with its daily average vaccination rising over 60% to 7.57 lakh. Uttar Pradesh, too, saw a 40% rise to 11.18 lakh a day—India's most populous state has administered the most doses by far in the country.
West Bengal was the only state among the eight to see a sharp drop. It's daily average in September fell to 0.64 lakh doses from 3.65 lakh doses in August.