At the current pace of vaccination against coronavirus, India would another 8 years and 9 months to inoculate 70 per cent of its entire population, a threshold required to achieve herd immunity.
As of April 20, approximately 10.97 crore Indians have received the first dose of one of two coronavirus vaccines approved for use in the country. This accounts for a mere 8.09 per cent of the nation's 135.5 crore population. Meanwhile, only 1.75 crore people have received a second dose so far, which is just 1.29 per cent of the overall population.
Over the past 50 days, 9.78 crore Indians got the first shot of the vaccine, whereas the second dose was administered to a little over 1.5 crore Indians.
Going by the current rate, India would need 1 year and 4 months to administer first shot of the vaccine to 70 per cent of the population, and 8 years and 9 months to give the second dose to this portion. To administer the first shot to the entire population would take 1 year and 11 months. Administering both doses to the entire population would require 12 years and 6 months.
India is the second worst affected nation in the world due to the coronavirus pandemic. The nation is presently experiencing a steep rise in COVID-19 cases as the second wave of the pandemic is sweeping across the nation.
Earlier this week, India announced the third phase of its COVID-19 vaccination programme. Scheduled to be kicked off from May 1, the programme will now be extended to include every citizen above the age of 18 years.
Vaccine manufacturers have been asked to supply 50 per cent of their monthly central drugs laboratory released doses to the Centre. They would be free to supply the remaining 50 per cent to states and in the open market.
Central government's vaccination plan will continue as before, where vaccine will be provided free of cost to healthcare workers, frontline workers and all people above 45 years of age at government vaccination centres. Centre will allocate vaccines to states and union territories based on the extent of infection - the number of active COVID-19 cases and speed of administration.
India has so far granted emergency use authorisation to two indigenously manufactured vaccines by Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech. A third vaccine - Sputnik V - which is presently being manufactured abroad will eventually be brought to India. The government will also allow the imported fully ready to use vaccines to be entirely utilised other than government channels.
(Edited by Vivek Punj)