India launched the world's largest vaccination drive against Covid-19 in January by administering doses to the frontline health workers. At that time, the immunisation programme commenced with two vaccines -- Covishield and Covaxin. While Covishield is the local version of Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 and Pune-based Serum Institute of India is manufacturing the drug, Bharat Biotech's Covaxin was developed in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) National Institute of Virology (NIV). Although Covishield and Covaxin are the most widely accepted vaccines in the country, the DGCI nod to Russia's Sputnik V and its roll out in May eased the supply chain. Six months into it, there has been visible improvement on production and timely supply of the doses.
According to a special research report from the State Bank of India’s Economic Research Department -- "COVID-19: Vaccinate, vaccinate & vaccinate", the government has managed to fully vaccinate 9 per cent of the country's total population and 12 per of the eligible population. It said that daily cases in the last 50 days have averaged to 3.0 per 1 lakh population, while daily deaths average to 0.6 per 1 million.
The report, authored by Soumya Kanti Ghosh, Group Chief Economic Adviser, SBI, said that 43 per cent of eligible population stands vaccinated with first dose and 12 per cent with second dose.
"If we go by the present vaccination rate of vaccination -- 45 lakh per day, the critical mass (70%) may be covered by the first dose by the end of November this year and second dose by March 15 next year," the report said.
The latest nationwide serological survey conducted by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) showed that 67.6 per cent in the age group of 6 and above having Covid antibodies. Different states have different levels of sero-positivity. Combining this with the population with double doses, the estimated susceptible population for our sample 14 states which includes Maharashtra, Kerala among others, comes at 20.4 crore.
"There is an urgent need to vaccinate these people immediately. To vaccinate these people, we need around 45-days for the first dose," Ghosh said in the report.
Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Uttarakhand and Rajasthan have already given double doses of vaccine to a large percentage of the population, the report said.
Vaccination in rural areas has increased significantly for certain states including Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh and rural India’s share has also come down in total cases.
"States like West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra need to pick up momentum of vaccination in rural areas," the report underlined.
In 80 per cent of districts, 52 per cent of the eligible rural population has received a single dose of vaccine as compared to 63 per cent of the eligible population in urban areas.
In the states where more than 50 per cent of the eligible population is vaccinated with a single dose, there the second wave cumulative fatality rate, on an average, is less than 1 per cent.
Nonetheless, the overall share of rural districts in new cases has declined to 38.7 per cent in July from the peak of 53.6 per cent in May.
The SBI report added that new cases in top 15 districts increased again in July and August, pointing towards the concentration of new infections. Many rural districts from Kerala are now emerging in the top 15 worst affected districts .