Updated: August 27, 2021 7:16:58 am
India on Thursday completed administering at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine to half its eligible adult population, as it crossed 61.10 crore cumulative vaccinations across the country.
According to the government, based on the projected mid-year count for 2020, the total population of the country aged 18 years and above is approximately 94 crore. On Thursday, India completed administering 47.29 crore first doses — which is 50.30 per cent of this projected adult population.
Daily vaccinations have so far averaged 52.16 lakh doses in August, compared to 43.41 lakh doses administered in July.
According to the Health Ministry, 50 per cent of the population above the age of 18 has received the first dose, and 15 per cent is fully vaccinated.
Official data show 99 per cent of healthcare workers have received their first shot, and 83 per cent are fully vaccinated. All frontline workers have received their first shot, and 79 per cent are fully vaccinated.
While single-dose vaccination cover is well above the national average in smaller states like Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim, and Goa, the four big states — Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, and West Bengal — are yet to achieve 50 per cent single dose vaccination cover
ICMR Director General Dr Balram Bhargava underlined again on Thursday that vaccines do not prevent the disease but reduce its severity and hospitalisation — and that wearing masks should continue to remain the priority.
Only fully vaccinated people should attend social gatherings, Dr Bhargava said. “The second wave is still on in India. In some states, an upsurge is being observed in a few districts. We have 41 districts with a weekly positivity rate of 10 per cent; and 27 districts with a weekly positivity rate between 5 per cent and 10 per cent. The population density is causing the spread — wherever Covid-19 appropriate is not being observed, we are seeing a surge of cases,” he said.
50 per cent single dose coverage of the adult population has significant public health implications: it means a significant percentage of the population has a certain level of protection against the infection. The Health Ministry has asked states to focus on enhancing second dose coverage.
“We know that these vaccines are disease-modifying vaccines; they are not disease-preventing vaccines. Therefore, it is very important to continue to use the mask even after vaccination of one or two doses. Vaccines reduce disease severity, reduce the possibility of hospitalisation, and also avoid death to tune of 98-99 per cent. Mass gatherings have to be discouraged; and if attending or gathering is critical, full vaccination should be the prerequisite,” Dr Bhargava said.
Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan, while flagging the passing of the milestone 50 per cent single-dose vaccination cover on Thursday, also said that the second wave was still on, and that strict adherence to Covid-19 norms in the next two months, when major festivals will be celebrated, would be crucial in containing a possible new surge.
India launched its vaccination drive on January 16, prioritising healthcare and frontline workers. As of Thursday, 1.03 crore healthcare workers had received their first dose, and 82 lakh had received both their doses.
A total 1.8 crore frontline workers had received their first dose; 1.28 crore the second dose as well.
With Kerala continuing to report a surge, contributing more than 50 per cent of active cases in the country, the Centre on Thursday said the state was the only one in the country with more than 1 lakh active cases.
According to data, 58.4 per cent of the total cases last week were reported from Kerala. Four states still have active cases between 10,000 and a lakh: Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Andhra Pradesh.
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