Covid vaccination: 15.5 lakh precaution doses administered on first day of special drive

MORE THAN 15.5 lakh precaution doses were administered across the country till Friday late evening, of which over 13 lakh were in people aged between 18 and 59, according to data on government’s CoWIN portal. Friday marked the beginning of the Centre’s programme offering free precaution doses to all adults for 75 days to mark the 75th year of Independence.

In comparison, only about 5.5 lakh precaution doses were administered each day on an average over the past seven days. Around 13.4 lakh total vaccine doses were administered on an average each day over this period.

The uptake of the third precaution dose has been slow ever since it was opened up for healthcare workers, frontline workers, and those aged above 60 with co-morbidities in January this year. The highest peak of precaution dose administration was, in fact, seen during the second week of January when more than 37 lakh precaution doses were administered in seven days.

After dropping to just over 12 lakh precaution doses in a week in May, the numbers started going up again the following month when the government started the Har Ghar Dastak campaign, focusing specifically on uptake of precaution dose in the elderly and the second dose in children. The numbers increased to 33 lakh precaution doses in July second week, according to CoWIN data.

Significantly, there was a slight increase in the number of precaution doses administered even in Delhi where the state government had made the precaution doses free for all adults two weeks after the government opened up the drive. The Centre opened up the precaution dose drive to all adults in April but the shots were available only on payment at private centres to those aged between 18 and 59. There were just over 22,000 precaution doses administered in Delhi on Friday as compared to 19,000 doses that were being administered each day on average during the previous seven days.

“As part of #AzadiKaAmritMahotsav celebrations, free Covid-19 Precaution Dose drive for all adults for the next 75 days has commenced. I urge all eligible to get their Precaution Dose. PM @NarendraModi Ji’s Govt is committed to creating a Healthy & Safe India,” Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya tweeted on Friday.

So far, India has administered 199.4 crore doses of Covid-19 vaccines, of which only 5.26 crore are precaution doses. Of these, only 78.1 lakh were in people between the ages of 18 and 59 years. This is much lower than the 4.48 crore doses administered in elderly.

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