Another 13 Months to Vaccinate 60% of The Population, Data Reveals

Nearly three months into India’s vaccination drive and one week after the criteria were expanded to include all above the age of 45, at least 10 state governments have reported a shortage of vaccines. These states include those that are reporting the most number of COVID-19 cases such as Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and the National Capital Territory of Delhi.

In Maharashtra, which accounts for half the active cases in the country, several vaccination centres have been closed due to the shortage. Health Minister Rajesh Tope said that as of 8 April, the state has only 1.2 million doses left and requires a supply of four million doses per week. The state also accounts for nearly 10% of the total doses administered in the country.

The central government has said that Maharashtra and Rajasthan–among the states that have raised shortage concerns–have received the most number of vaccine doses. While the government has not released the latest data for all the states, it has said that Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Gujarat each have received around 10 million doses until 8 April.

This is not proportionate to the population of eligible beneficiaries in the state or to the number of COVID-19 cases or deaths, an IndiaSpend analysis of Census 2011 data on people above the age of 45 and healthcare workers shows. State-wise data on frontline workers were not available. Maharashtra, with 26 million eligible people, received as many doses as Gujarat, which has 13 million eligible people.

While the data released on 8 April had only mentioned three states, the government had released data for all states on 17 March. Since the month-old data may not be accurate in absolute terms, we analysed the data on vaccine supply to states to assess whether supply has been proportionate to states’ eligible populations. We also cross-checked with recent data published by The Times of India and found that the proportions have stayed nearly the same, except for a margin of two percentage points.

Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state, has around 36 million eligible people–10 million more than Maharashtra–and has received nearly as many doses as Maharashtra. Andhra Pradesh, which has nearly 20 million eligible beneficiaries, was allocated half as many doses as Maharashtra.

IndiaSpend requested the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for updated data and the criteria for distribution of vaccines to states. This report will be updated when we receive a response.

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