Almost daily, I come across articles or tweets about India’s vaccination data, and most of these have wrong or misleading data and thus do not paint the fully correct picture. The tweets are mostly from Anti Modi Brigade members such as Rahul Gandhi or Congress spokespersons, and recently from Mamata Banerjee’s henchman Derek O’Brien (in my opinion, one of the most obnoxious parliamentarians in India’s history), but the articles with mistakes are unfortunately present in both, the Leftist media, as well as the Right Wing-supporting media.
Having authored a bestseller book “Modi Stole My Mask” (THE TRUTH ABOUT INDIA’S COVID CRISIS) with GoaChronicle Editor-in-Chief Savio Rodrigues, which is full of facts and data, including comprehensive data on India’s vaccine needs and availability, I have been monitoring India’s ‘Largest Vaccine Drive’ very closely, tracking the data on almost a daily basis.
As the Hindi edition of the book is scheduled to be released by Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on September 16, and as it has updated data on vaccination, I have been even more proactive in the last few days.
Here is something that Derek O’Brien tweeted today. This tweet, and an article published as a response in Right Wing news website OpIndia, prompted me to write this article.
Having been a well-known quizmaster for several years, Derek should definitely know better than to tweet such meaningless stuff. Having been my senior at St. Xavier’s, Calcutta, he was taught by the same maths teachers as I was.
About 5.3% of India’s total population is under the age of three (3).
Are they also going to get vaccinated?
So far, only some countries in Western Europe, Canada, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, the US, Brazil, and some other countries in South America have started vaccinating adolescents above the age of 12. Only China and the UAE are vaccinating kids above the age of three (3). No country—repeat no one—is vaccinating kids below the age of three.
Therefore, we cannot calculate the percentage of population vaccinated based on the total population of India.
Besides, there will be a substantial population which will refuse to get vaccinated. Let’s not forget that almost 35% of Indians live in backward areas, and are generally against modern science, preferring to rely upon home remedies, Ayurvedic/Homeopathic/herbal/tribal medicines, and the likes.
Even in developed countries such as the US, UK, and Israel (there was a lot of noise in the Indian media in April/May this year about the success of their vaccination programme), there is tremendous vaccine hesitancy.
In the 67 days between June 30 and September 5, the US has only managed to give 7.3 lakh jabs per day to its eligible population (age 12+), even though 38.35% of this population is not yet fully vaccinated.
In comparison, India has given 53.5 lakh jabs per day, or 7.33 times the American average.
The UK has only managed 2.07 lakh jabs per day despite the fact that 26% of its eligible population is not fully vaccinated.
Vaccine hesitancy is also quite obvious in the tiny country of Israel. It had been able to fully vaccinate 75% of its eligible population by May 12. In 116 days since then, this number has only reached 81.1%. At this rate, it will take Israel 359 more days to fully vaccinate its 12+ population.
How many people does India need to vaccinate?
Here are my detailed calculations.
Assuming that (at least until Feb-March 2022) India will only vaccinate the 12+ population, the target number of people to be vaccinated after excluding vaccine hesitancy is 78.91 crore (the ‘target population’), and thus the number of jabs comes to 157.82 crore. This includes 138.43 crore jabs for the current eligible population (18+) and 19.39 crore jabs for adolescents aged 12-17.
The OpIndia article calculates India’s adult population to be about 90 crore in some roundabout manner. I would advise them to go to the website of populationpyramid.net which has very accurate figures.
As of 7:00 pm today, India has already given 69.69 crore jabs, with the break-up in the following Table.
After accounting for vaccine hesitancy, first doses have been given to 77% of the 18+ population and second doses to 23.7%.
Even if we account for the 12+ population which will become eligible for getting vaccinated soon, India has given first doses to 67.53% (more than two-thirds) of our ‘target population’, and second doses to 20.78%.
With only 68.74 crore jabs left to be given to the 18+ population, and going by the average 80 lakh jabs per day that India is now managing, we should be able to fully vaccinate all adults in the next 86 days, not accounting for the mandatory gap between doses, which should now be reduced to 4-5 weeks since there is no shortage of vaccines.
Before signing off, I would like to leave you with an interesting statistic. In the last 30 days, India has given 7.28 times more Covid-19 vaccines than the US and 1.19 times more than 27 EU nations put together. Will Derek tweet about this now?
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DISCLAIMER: This article reflects author’s view point. Goa Chronicle may or may not subscribe to views of the author.