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Home / Science / Health /  As vaccinations cross one billion, inequities are fading

As vaccinations cross one billion, inequities are fading

Half of all Indians live in five states: Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Bihar, West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh. But just 41.5% of all doses given in India have gone to these states so far.

  • A billion doses given in nine months is a key public health milestone. However, vaccination coverage is still low in large states; gender inequities exist, and most elderly are yet to be fully vaccinated

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India crossed the key landmark of administering 1 billion covid-19 vaccine doses on Thursday, having given half its population at least one shot. The scale has helped it address some of the distribution inequities over time, but not in full measure, data shows.

India crossed the key landmark of administering 1 billion covid-19 vaccine doses on Thursday, having given half its population at least one shot. The scale has helped it address some of the distribution inequities over time, but not in full measure, data shows.

Half of all Indians live in five states: Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Bihar, West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh. But just 41.5% of all doses given in India have gone to these states so far. In terms of doses given per 1,000 population, Uttar Pradesh (508) and Bihar (505) lag the national average (729).

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Half of all Indians live in five states: Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Bihar, West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh. But just 41.5% of all doses given in India have gone to these states so far. In terms of doses given per 1,000 population, Uttar Pradesh (508) and Bihar (505) lag the national average (729).

The gender inequity that existed in early stages has been addressed, with 99 women getting a jab for every 100 men in the last one month, from only 79 per 100 in June. However, some states with high vaccination coverage are underperforming: Delhi, for instance, has given doses to 723 females per 1,000 males, a gross mismatch against its sex ratio of 876:1,000.

With the 45+ age group receiving 1,270 doses per 1,000 population, nearly 73% are yet to get fully vaccinated. The younger lot—the 18-44 age group—account for 74% of India's population and have received 55.5% of the total doses. Since August, 60% of all doses have gone to this age group.

As vaccination expands, these disparities are likely to taper. However, the pace of vaccination has slowed this month to 5.3 million doses a day, compared to 7.9 million and 6.1 million in the previous two months. As more vaccines enter the market, the rollout will get a push.

Big Drop

In the last seven days, India’s vaccination coverage grew just 2.2%, the third slowest among the 10 most populous countries for which data is available. Indonesia saw the fastest growth for the second straight week, followed by the Philippines and Mexico.

Indonesia, which recently saw a devastating covid-19 outbreak, aims to administer 300 million doses by the end of this year, even as its famed tourist destination Bali is set to reopen to vaccinated tourists. The Philippines received 844,800 AstraZeneca vaccine doses from Germany through the COVAX facility earlier this week. It also began to vaccinate its teenage population with comorbidities.

Russia registered its highest daily covid-19 death toll this week since the pandemic began early last year. It has so far only administered 670 doses per 1,000 people. Only about 42 million of Russia’s 146 million citizens have been fully vaccinated.

First in 8 months

The outbreak in India continues to subside. India reported 106,770 new cases in the last seven days, down 16.2%. Kerala, at 59,092 new infections, reported more cases than all the other states and Union territories combined. Ernakulam, ​​Thiruvananthapuram, and Thrissur districts accounted for 40.6% of all cases reported in Kerala.

For the first time since February-end, every single district in India reported fewer than 10,000 cases in a seven-day period. Only for 100 districts did the number of new cases grow this week, but in most cases, the rise has been less than 20 cases.

The exceptions are Serchhip of Mizoram and Una of Himachal Pradesh, which reported 660 and 112 new cases, up from 426 and 85, respectively. In Nagaland’s Tuensang and Jammu and Kashmir’s Doda district, the count has been rising steadily since the past three weeks.

Retrospective Tolls

India reported 1,377 new covid-related deaths this week, 13.2% fewer than the preceding week. The decline has been constant for the past two weeks. All states and Union territories except Haryana and Punjab reported fewer deaths this week, with 14 reporting none.

Haryana, which had reported no death in the last week, added 174 deaths this week, most of which were retrospective as part of a reconciliation exercise. Punjab reported 18 deaths.

Kerala continued to report the most deaths (513), but down 33%. Of the four districts in India that reported over 50 deaths, three are in Kerala. Thiruvananthapuram reported 97 deaths, the only district with over 60 deaths in the past seven days.

India must keep working to address inequities in the vaccination drive and to pace it up consistently to ensure more lives aren’t lost due to the pandemic.

Retrospective Tolls

India reported 1,377 new covid-related deaths this week, 13.2% fewer than the preceding week. The decline has been constant for the past two weeks. All states and Union territories except Haryana and Punjab reported fewer deaths this week, with 14 reporting none.

Haryana, which had reported no death in the last week, added 174 deaths this week, most of which were retrospective as part of a reconciliation exercise. Punjab reported 18 deaths.

Kerala continued to report the most deaths (513), but down 33%. Of the four districts in India that reported over 50 deaths, three are in Kerala. Thiruvananthapuram reported 97 deaths, the only district with over 60 deaths in the past seven days.

India must keep working to address inequities in the vaccination drive and to pace it up consistently to ensure more lives aren’t lost due to the pandemic.

(howindialives.com is a database and search engine for public data)

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