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VACILLATION & VACCINATION

VACILLATION & VACCINATION
May 19
14:03 2021

Hit hard with the recent surge of coronavirus, India’s battle is far from over. The country has opened up its vaccination drive for 18 – 44 age group but there aren’t enough vaccines available as yet. Almost 12 states of India are in the process of or, busy drafting global tenders for vaccine import.

India’s current population is estimated at 1.33 Billion of which — 60% is 15-59; 30% is 0-14; and 10% is 60+ — age groups. (Source MoHFW). Extrapolating and rounding, to vaccinate the 60% population age group (15-59 years), requires 799 Million doses (x 2 =1.6 Billion doses to fully vaccinate).

To vaccinate 799 Mpeople, say over 6-monthsrequires133 M doses per month or 4.4 M vaccinations per day. Now that’s only the first jab. If we take May 2021 as start-off month and includea 4-week gap for the 2nd jab, June onwards double the quantity of doses (8.8 M) are required each month. It will be November end or even later;as some vaccines require a longer gap; to fully vaccinate the 15-59 age group.

India didn’t have 4.4 M doses available to it per dayin the month of May. At half that number, 2.2 M first month, then 4.4 M second month onwards, it could go well beyond July 2022, at the least, to fully-vaccinate the age group in the example above.

According to India’s Health Ministry, until16 May morning, India had administered 182+M vaccine doses, a cumulative number since launch of its vaccination drive January 2021. Of these 140+ M have had the First Dose and 41+ M are fully vaccinated. So far India has delivered only 1.5+ M doses per day since the 16 January launch.

Now, does it also have the technical staff to deliver the 2.2/4.4/8.8 M vaccinations each day? And as stated by the leading vaccine manufacturer in India, the estimated Rupees 80,000 crore (roughly USD 12 Billion) to pay for required vaccines.

To meet the huge demand,now urgently needed, the government of India is doubling up and extending emergency use approvals for vaccines to be imported. This includes the Russian Sputnik-V and Pfizer, trials for which were not considered last year for whatever reasons. To complicate and make matters worse, is the impactof the 2nd surge in rural hinterlands, where the health infrastructure is extremely wanting,where it exists, that is.

In US, the vaccination drive thatbegan 20 Dec 2020, until 15 May 2021 (from CDC website),270+ million persons have been vaccinated. At 121+ M fully vaccinated, about 37% and 156+ M at least one dose, 47%; a total 84%of the US population has been already covered.

President Biden has laid out plans that include vaccination of 160 million adults (70% of US adults) fully vaccinated by July 4 this year, and the roll out of vaccines for the 12–15 age group soon.

US is currently vaccinating about a million adults per day but reports say the vaccination rate is half of what it was about three weeks ago. President Biden said his administration is also working to win over ‘doubters’ about the shots.

The White House has already relaxed use of masks for fully vaccinated staff after CDC announced last week those who are fully vaccinated and have had their final vaccine shot two weeks ago or more, no longer need to wear masks andphysically distance themselves, in most circumstances.

Is the end to this nightmare finally in sight? Hopefully yes.

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