India has given the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to 9.5 million people by April 13 and the second dose to 1.34 million people, vaccinating 10.85 million people to date, according to data from the Ministry of Health. But Maharashtra – the hardest hit state – has only vaccinated 77.3 lakh over 45 so far. Not only does the state have the highest cases and deaths in the country, but it also has one of the highest test positivity rates in the world.
According to state health authorities, an average of 2.75 to 3 lakh are vaccinated daily in Maharashtra. Of the 3.86 million people over the age of 45 in Maharashtra, the state has vaccinated 33.8 lakh in the 45 to 60 age group and 43.5 lakh over the age of 60, for a total of 77.3 lakh. That is only 19.9 percent of the over 45-year-olds. To vaccinate the remaining 80 percent (3.08 crore) of people in this age group, it will take Maharashtra between 102 and 112 days at the current vaccination rate.
For the 25-45 age group, Maharashtra has a population of 3.43 crore according to the 2011 census. The government has not yet started vaccinating anyone under the age of 45, but whenever it does start it will take another 4 months to insure them at the current vaccination rate.
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However, the goal could be achieved much faster if the vaccination per day is increased. Officials say the capacity to deliver puffs can be increased up to 6-7 lakh per day. It’s easier said than done, however.
Maharashtra has caused over 33 percent of daily Covid-19 cases in India since the second wave of coronavirus began. When the country recorded 1.61 lakh news cases today, Maharashtra reported the highest daily news cases at 51,751, followed by 13,604 in Uttar Pradesh and 13,576 in Chhattisgarh.
Maharashtra’s case recovery rate is poor at 81.94 percent and the death rate is 1.68 percent. There are currently 32.75.224 people in home quarantine while 29.399 people are in institutional quarantine. Over 50,000 Covid cases are recorded every day after April 6th when the daily Covid number was 47,288.
The Maharashtra government has accused the center of not shipping enough vaccines to improve vaccination. State Health Minister Rajesh Tope said last week that states governed by the BJP are receiving more vaccines than non-BJP states. He said Gujarat has a population of 6 crore and it received 1 crore cans while Maharashtra has a population of 12 crore but it only received 1.04 crore cans. Many other non-BJP-governed states have also highlighted the problem of the shortage of COVID-19 vaccines.
In a strongly worded response, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said it was nothing more than an attempt to divert attention from the Maharashtra government’s repeated failures to control the spread of the pandemic. “Their tests are not up to par and their contact tracing leaves something to be desired,” he said.
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Although states like Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh have come under pressure from the rising Covid graph, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tried to ease fears at his recent online meeting with Prime Ministers and said there was no need to worry if there were cases Pop up.
Instead, he asked officials to expedite the tests and vaccinations. He also called for “Teeka Utsav” – a vaccination festival between April 11th and 14th, which has received better response.
India is currently facing the worst wave of Covid-19 and infections are increasing at an unprecedented rate. The government has stepped up the fight against the deadly virus by doubling down on testing and vaccination efforts. India’s vaccination program is the largest in the world, but it is still not enough to cover the entire population of over 1.35 billion people.
The country launched the Covid vaccination program on January 16, which covered healthcare workers in the first phase. In early February, the vaccination program was expanded to include front-line workers. In phase 2 from March 1, people over 60 years of age and people over 45 years of age with comorbidities were included. On April 1, the program was extended to all over 45 year olds.
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(Edited by Manoj Sharma)