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Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Only 3.8 lakh 3rd jabs, half of them in last 4 days

Apart from Delhi, UP and Haryana re-introduced the mask mandate last week following a slight uptick in cases.

Written by Kaunain Sheriff M | New Delhi |
Updated: April 25, 2022 7:51:26 am
Covid news, India Covid news, Covid cases, India COvid cases, Covid, Covid-19, Covid vaccine, Covid-19 vaccine, vaccination, jabs, shots, coronavirus, coronavirus vaccine, Indian Express, India news, current affairs, Indian Express News Service, Express News Service, Express News, Indian Express India NewsAt a Delhi vaccination centre. Over half of vaccines for 18-59 group were given in states with metros. File

ONLY 3.87 lakh people in the 18-59 age group have taken the “precautionary” third dose of the Covid vaccine since it was rolled out for this category on April 10, according to Union Health Ministry data. But significantly, the data show that over 51 per cent of these doses were administered in the last four days, coinciding with an uptick in cases and re-introduction of mask mandates in key cities such as Delhi.

According to the data, 3,87,719 third doses were administered across the country in the 18-59 age group over the last 14 days — including 1.98 lakh from April 20 to April 24.

Apart from Delhi, UP and Haryana re-introduced the mask mandate last week following a slight uptick in cases.

This apart, the Ministry’s data show that over half of the total number of third doses for the 18-59 group were administered in states with large metro areas.

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The data also show that the third-dose uptake has dipped for the priority group too, including frontline and healthcare workers, after having started on a high during the Omicron surge in January.

Health officials, who are part of the Centre’s Covid immunisation monitoring team, attributed the low third-dose numbers overall to the “relatively stable situation” and availability of these doses only on payment in private facilities.

They said precautionary doses in the 18-59 category are “mainly being taken only by those who require it for travelling abroad and those who are suffering from comorbidities”.

A healthworker administers a booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine to a woman, in New Delhi, Monday, April 11, 2022. (PTI Photo)

According to Ministry’s data, 54 per cent of third doses administered in the 18-59 age group over the past 14 days were in Delhi, Maharashtra, West Bengal and Karnataka.

This is mainly due to private vaccination centres being concentrated in metro areas such as Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Kolkata. On Sunday, according to data on CoWin, only 893 private vaccination sites were operational as compared to 19,494 government vaccination sites.

Significantly, the data also show that large to mid-sized states, which have a relatively low presence of private vaccination centres, have administered less than 5,500 third doses to those in the 18-59 age group: Rajasthan (3,918), Madhya Pradesh (4,303) and Jharkhand (5,290).

A health worker administers a dose of Covid-19 vaccine to a beneficiary at a vaccination centre, in Gurugram, Saturday, April 23, 2022. (PTI Photo)

Chhattisgarh has administered just 532 precautionary doses in the 18-59 age group so far.

Even a densely populated state such as Bihar has administered only 22,141 precautionary doses to the 18-59 group. At the same time, the data show, a smaller state such as Haryana, which includes the metro area of Gurgaon in the national capital region, has administered 19,918 precautionary doses to those in this category.

Even in the priority category — frontline and healthcare workers, and those 60 years old and above — for whom the third dose is freely available at government vaccination centres since January 10, the uptake continues to be low: only 45 per cent of 1.04 crore healthcare workers and 38 per cent of 1.84 crore frontline workers.

So far, only 2.62 crore precautionary doses have been administered to this high-risk group, including 46.94 lakh doses to healthcare workers, 73.40 lakh to frontline workers and 1.42 crore to those 60 years old and above.

The data show that almost 63 per cent of these 2.62 crore doses were administered in the first month of rollout, from January 10 to February 10, including 38 lakh doses to healthcare workers, 51 lakh to frontline workers and 75.31 lakh to the 60 years and above group.

This was the period when the country was witnessing a surge in cases triggered by the infectious Omicron variant.

The next 30 days saw a nearly 28 per cent decline: 4.8 lakh doses for healthcare workers, 13.48 lakh for frontline workers and 27.35 lakh for the 60 years and above group.

Between March 10 and April 10, there was a further dip: 2.59 lakh doses for healthcare workers, 5.15 lakh for frontline workers and 25.14 lakh for the 60 years and above group.

Between April 10 and April 23, 1.57 lakh precautionary doses were administered to healthcare workers, 3.26 lakh to frontline workers and 14.35 lakh to the 60 years and above group.

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