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Coronavirus | ‘Tika Utsav’ draws moderate response; 11.4 million doses given

A health worker prepares to administer COVID-19 vaccine in Visakhapatnam on April 14, 2021. Vaccinations tend to pick up during the middle of the week, the CoWin portal shows.   | Photo Credit: K.R. Deepak

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s exhortation to Indians to commemorate ‘Tika Utsav’ by encouraging COVID-19 vaccination has elicited a middling response with only 11.4 million vaccines administered from April 11 to 14, data from the CoWin website show.

Concomitant with a slew of festivals that mark these days, the aim was to accelerate vaccinations.

When compared over previous blocks of four days all through this month, there were three blocks when inoculations crossed 13 million. The lowest was from March 18-21 that saw 9.5 million vaccinations. The CoWin website indicates daily vaccination number for the previous 30 days. Beyond that the numbers are available only on a weekly basis.

There are dips in vaccinations, especially during the weekend, and previous months show that vaccinations tend to pick up during the middle of the week.

The landmark

April 1 was an important landmark in India’s vaccination programme with anyone over 45 eligible to get the dose. According to Census 2001, there are about 14 crore Indians between 45 and 64 years. While on April 5, India posted a record — 4.5 million inoculations — the daily numbers have since recorded a decline with vaccinations hovering around 3-3.5 million every day.

However, several States since then have complained of a shortage of vaccines even as the number of coronavirus cases rose to a record high, spiking demand for the vaccine. The Centre has consistently denied a shortage, underscoring that while the supplies “were limited,” stocks of States were being replenished every four days. Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said the States needed to plan better. There were 1.67 crore vaccines with States on April 13 and nearly 2 crore vaccines were in supply until April end.

Emergency nod

On Tuesday, the Centre accorded emergency approval to the Sputnik V vaccine though there is nothing known about how much it will cost, or if it will be procured by the government and sold at subsidised rates and by what date are they expected to be available. The government has also eased the process for vaccines that have been cleared by regulators internationally to be made available in India.

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Printable version | May 9, 2021 10:30:06 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tika-utsav-draws-moderate-response-114-mn-doses-given/article34320735.ece

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