NEW DELHI: Private hospitals have procured 80 lakh doses of anti-Covid vaccines, whereas states and UTs have bought 1.23 crore doses so far directly from vaccine manufacturers since the new vaccination policy came into effect from May 1 allowing states and the private sector to directly procure 50% of vaccines made in India.
An additional 1.27 crore doses directly procured by states and UTs is in the pipeline and will be available soon, the Centre said on Tuesday.
While lack of vaccination slots – particularly in the private sector and for those in 18-44 age group – has raised concerns during the last two weeks amid a surge in infections, the government said the supply situation will improve going forward and there will be adequate doses available for all adults.
So far, 32% or one-third of the eligible population above 45 has been inoculated with the first dose of Covid-19 vaccine, whereas 50% due for the second dose is yet to receive the shots. The Centre urged people to seek the second dose and asked states to ensure more people complete their vaccination course on time.
In response to a question whether the government dropped the ball on the second wave, as has been suggested by some experts including US top immunologist Antony Fauci, Niti Aayog member Dr V K Paul told the media on Thursday that the health ministry and top experts have regularly emphasised that there is no room for laxity. They have said the sero- surveys show a large number of vulnerable population and that the virus cannot be seen as having gone away.
States and UTs like Uttarakhand, J&K, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Ladakh and Tripura have over 50% coverage of the first dose of the vaccines among 45-plus population.
With around 88% of fatalities reported in people in this group, higher immunisation can be instrumental in reducing mortality. Dr Paul also said India had reached the 18-crore vaccination mark in less time than the US.
While many states are still lagging in administering the second dose of the vaccine to eligible beneficiaries, the Centre has advised states and UTs to earmark at least 70% doses of each tranche for administration of the second dose.