From average daily doses to second-dose turnout, multiple markers of vaccine usage indicate rising public acceptance. Further, these gains are being seen across both genders and a broad base of states.
Ten days into phase two of India’s covid-19 vaccination drive, vaccine confidence continues to grow. The second phase, which opened to certain categories of general citizens, is chalking up significant gains across multiple metrics: average daily doses being administered, second-dose turnout and online registrations for a jab. Further, these gains are being seen across both genders and a broad base of states.
By 10 March, the total administered doses stood at 25.6 million, against 12.3 million doses on 28 February, the last day of phase one, which lasted 44 days. The latest three-day average of daily doses stood at 1.57 million, against 0.78 million at the beginning of phase two. Second-dose turnout has increased from a poor 43% in the last week of February to 65.6% in the first week of March to 70.3% on Wednesday.
Around 27.5 million people have registered for vaccination in the second phase as of Wednesday. Even if one assumes all those who have received the vaccine in phase two registered online, that’s still a waiting of about 15 million—about 10 times the current run rate. The gender split is roughly in line with India’s sex ratio. For every seven men, six women have registered. Likewise, for every six men being vaccinated, five women are being vaccinated.
As vaccinations increase, states are also progressing quickly. Adjusted for population, Kerala (36.1 doses per 1,000 population) has jumped from rank 3 last week to rank 1. It is followed by Delhi (35.3), Gujarat (33.9), and Rajasthan (31). Nationally, this figure has almost doubled in 14 days, and has now crossed 18 doses per 1,000 population.
Some states are pressing harder than others. A case in point is Rajasthan, which administered 1.02 million doses in the last seven days, against 1.5 million doses in the entire period before that. Rajasthan now leads all states in total doses given, and has risen from the sixth position to the fourth position in per-capita vaccines. Rajasthan holds 5.9% of India’s total population, but accounts for 9.8% of total doses administered in the country. This week, it also complained to the Centre that its vaccine inventory was running thin and that it wasn’t receiving adequate vaccine supply—a claim the Centre has denied.
Inoculation efforts are being ramped up worldwide. On the back of recent gains, India’s fully-vaccinated population tripled to 0.34% in a week’s time. In spite of being ranked third in total vaccine doses administered, after the US and China, India lags other countries on a per-capita basis due to its large population. Israel has given 104 doses per 100 people, UAE 64 and the US 28.
Even as vaccination picks up, the last seven days have seen worrying trends in coronavirus infections. For two weeks in a row now, India has reported above 100,000 confirmed cases in a week. On a week-on-week basis, the number of confirmed cases increased 12.7% this week. Active cases have seen an increase of above 10% for two consecutive weeks—13.3% last week, and 13% this week.
New cases remain centred around Maharashtra, with the state accounting for 57% of the 128,456 new cases this week. Maharashtra, Punjab, Haryana and Gujarat also had more than half their districts showing an upward trend in confirmed cases for two straight weeks. Kerala had the second-highest daily confirmed cases. But unlike Maharashtra, all its districts show a downward trend in the past two weeks.
As many as 23 states and union territories have seen an increase in confirmed cases in the past week, as compared to 18 states the week before that. With about 13,540 new cases, Pune continued to lead all districts in new confirmed cases. This week, it recorded a rise of 37.6%, after 36% the previous week. Of the 13 districts with above 2,000 cases, 11 were in Maharashtra, and one each in Kerala and Karnataka.
New developments on the vaccine front could build public confidence further. Bharat Biotech, the co-maker of Covaxin, the second vaccine in India, has submitted interim efficacy data for full emergency use authorization. Till now, the ratio of Covishield (the first vaccine) to Covaxin in doses administered has been 10.3 to 1, according to the government’s Co-Win portal.
Post authorization, Covaxin’s uptake could increase.
Even Pfizer has reportedly told the government it wants to manufacture its vaccine in India
And so in coming days, expect the vaccine run to pick up further pace.