India's Covid Vaccination Rate Jumps 60% In June; 5.3 Crore Shots Given Already

People wait for a dose of Covid-19 vaccine at the heath center in the village of Bazrak, Uttar Pradesh, on May 17, 2021. (Photographer: Anindito Mukherjee/Bloomberg)

India's Covid Vaccination Rate Jumps 60% In June; 5.3 Crore Shots Given Already

India's vaccination rates in June have picked up after a slump in the previous month as availability of doses improves.

The country has administered over 5.3 crore doses in the first 18 days of June, according to the government's CoWin dashboard. That's already close to the 5.53 crore doses that were administered in May.

The daily average vaccination number has risen to 29.6 lakh in June, compared with 17.8 lakh in May. That is even higher than the April average of 25.8 lakh daily shots.

The vaccination drive in India had slowed significantly in May as states struggled to procure doses from the two domestic producers. However, the union government had said availability would improve in June with an estimated supply of 12 crore doses —50.6% higher than in May. To be clear, daily supply data is no longer published by the government.

The improved supply was predicated on expanded capacities at the two domestic producers, Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech. The availability of Russia's Sputnik V is also a small contributor.

Also read: Covid Vaccines: Centre Says 100 Crore Indians Will Be Vaccinated By 2021-End. Really?

Consequently, some of India's most populous states have ramped up their vaccination drive.

Uttar Pradesh saw the biggest uptick with its daily vaccination numbers more than double from 1.74 lakh to 3.65 lakh. Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu also saw significant improvement.

The supply hiccups could smoothen further from June 21 as the responsibility of procuring doses was recently recentralised.

This month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's administration reversed its earlier policy that asked states to independently buy the vaccine doses for the 18-44 age group, while the central government would supply doses for those above 45 years. Now, the Centre will procure 75% of the domestic vaccine supply and provide it free to those above 18 years of age. The remaining 25% of the supply will be reserved for private hospitals.

Modi's announcement came a week after the Supreme Court asked the government review of its vaccine policy. The top court had said that the policy was "arbitrary and irrational".

Also read: Modi’s Vaccine Policy Comes Half Undone – And That’s A Good Thing

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