New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced a ‘Tika Utsav’, or a vaccine festival, between April 11 and 14, with the purpose to inoculate the maximum number of eligible people in the shortest time. In a virtual meeting with all chief ministers, Modi said he believed the ‘Tika Utsav’ would help in “creating a sense of achievement” for people after getting vaccinated.
However, the number of new vaccine doses in those four days of the so-called vaccine festival was less than other days in April, raising questions over the effectiveness of the ‘Tika Utsav’.
According to covid19india.org, the number of new vaccine doses administered on April 11 stand at 29,33,418 – much less than the new doses administered on April 8 (41,35,589), April 9 (37,40,898) and April 10 (35,19,987).
On April 12, 40,04,520 vaccine doses were given, but on April 13, the number dropped down by 33% to 26,46,493 doses. On April 14, the number of doses given stood at 33,13,660.
In the graphic below, the bars before April 11 clearly show the decline in the number of vaccine doses administered during the ‘Tika Utsav’. In fact, the way the ‘Tika Utsav’ was publicised didn’t seem to bear any fruits.
Union health minister Harsh Vardhan said that the country has more than 43 million COVID-19 vaccine doses in stock or in the pipeline despite several states complaining about a shortage of vaccines. The Kerala chief minister on April 12 wrote to Harsh Vardhan citing concerns over lack of vaccines in the state.
According to the Indian Express, Vijayan in his letter stated, “Kerala has a 45-day action plan for vaccination, which requires two lakh doses per day. But the state has received only 56 lakh doses of the vaccine and 48 lakh doses have been administered till April 11. The existing stock would meet the vaccination plan for the next three days.”
Maharashtra health minister Rajesh Tope last week demanded 40 lakh doses from the Centre, saying the state doesn’t have enough vaccine doses, Hindustan Times reported.
Meanwhile, The Print reported lack of COVID beds and facilities, leaving patients gasping for breath in ambulances.
India is currently procuring two vaccines – Covaxin and Covishield – for the COVID-19 vaccination programme. It recently approved the use of the Russian Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine in the country.
India has reported a record 200,739 COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, according to data issued by the health ministry. Deaths stood at 1,038, taking the total to 173,123. The country’s total case load reached 14.1 million, behind only the US, which leads the global tally with 31.4 million cases.