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On Day 1 of new vaccine policy, India clocks highest-ever jabs at over 80 lakh

India administered a record 82.7 lakh doses of Covid vaccine on Monday, the first day of changed policy regime where the Centre supplies vaccines free of cost to States to all citizens above 18 years of age. The country’s highest daily vaccination mark till now was 43 lakh doses in early April.

According to the revised guidelines, the Centre procures 75 per cent of the anti-Covid jabs from the vaccine manufactures and distributes it for free to all the States/UTs. Over 55 lakhs jabs were given to the 18-44 age category.

More jabs, simple process

“The significant boost in vaccination is due to an increase in availability of vaccines, that too free of cost at all the government vaccination centres across the country. Also, with the elimination of pre-registration requirement on CoWIN platform, more walk-ins were witnessed,” a government official told BusinessLine.

On whether it be sustained, Rahul Pandit, member of the Supreme Court-appointed National Taskforce and member of Maharashtra’s Covid-19 taskforce, was optimistic. He was of the view that Monday’s performance could be sustained if vaccine supply was augmented. The daily vaccination rate could go up to one crore a day in about two weeks, he said.

The simplification of the vaccination process was one of the big reasons why vaccines were made more accessible, he said, especially in more rural and less tech-savvy areas. If the country continues at this rate, there would be a decent population with antibodies by the year end, he added.

While the government has done away with the mandate of pre-registration on CoWIN app to get the Covid shot, the vaccinators are still required to register on behalf of the beneficiaries on the CoWIN app; the government, thus, is able to keep tabs on its pace and record each vaccination, RS Sharma, Chief Executive Officer of National Health Authority and also the in-charge of CoWIN platform said.

“There is a confusion among certain sections that the government has completely done away with the requirement of registration on the CoWIN app. It is to be clarified that every vaccination is being recorded on the CoWIN platform. The registration is done by the vaccinators for all the walk-ins at the site,” Sharma said.

Madhya Pradesh administered the maximum number of vaccine doses at 15.98 lakh, followed by Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh at 10.86 lakh and 6.89 lakh respectively, as at 9 pm on Monday. Besides this, Gujarat inoculated 5.05 lakh beneficiaries and Haryana administered 4.80 lakh jabs.

Lack of vaccines’

But in West Bengal, the Centre’s universal vaccination programe failed to take off, state health department officials said, citing lack of vaccine supply. The State government instead struck to its previous policy of vaccinating priority groups.

Meanwhile, Andhra Pradesh exhausted its vaccine stock on Sunday by administering 13.45 lakh doses, leaving the State with limited stock.

In Gujarat, the State-wide free vaccination mega campaigns for beneficiaries above 18 was launched in the presence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah in Ahmedabad. Shah said the Centre is making efforts to ensure maximum vaccination across the country in July and August. Surat, which was one of the worst-hit cities during the second wave in Gujarat, saw over 30,000 vaccinated on Monday.

A health care expert said, this vaccination performance can be sustained until June; Serum Institute’s production would be at 100 million per month; in a day, the Centre releases 40-45 million doses to the States, and a lion’s share comes from SII.

Credit: Business Line | 21.06.2021

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