According to this data, Visakhapatnam (with 66%), Bhopal (58%) and Bengaluru (50%) are the only state capitals where 50% or more of the population have got at least one jab of the Covid-19 vaccine (numbers taken into consideration till Thursday). Other metros — Mumbai (26%), Chennai (24%), Delhi (24%) and Kolkata (20%) — all stand under the 30%-mark. Cities like Thiruvananthapuram and Lucknow, though, have stayed ahead with 49% and 36% first dose coverage respectively.
Interestingly, the capital of Kerala and Visakhapatnam were also found to have the highest per cent of people — at 21% and 19% respectively — who have taken both doses. But despite the disparity in numbers, Dr Subodh Kandmuthan, professor and director, centre for health care management, Administrative Staff College of India (ASCI) maintained that all states have progressed well in vaccine coverage, despite a large eligible population. “Also, this coverage percentage will be at least 10% to 15% higher in every city as the vaccine coverage data calculated here is on the total population whereas only those above 18 years are getting the jab,” he said.
Experts also said that there are no prescribed guidelines to determine what percentage of the population should be covered within what time. According to professor Shashank Tripathi of the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, the vaccine coverage should be improved to save more lives. “The idea of herd immunity is highly theoretical and is calculated on parameters like when the virus is static and everyone has equal immunity levels. But that is not possible in reality,” he said, adding, “There are sufficient studies and examples to establish that two doses of the vaccine give better protection against mortality in Covid- 19 cases. It is, therefore, better to cover as much population as possible.”.
While the vaccination drives have been largely focused on cities — as there is better acceptability to the vaccine — Dr Subodh said that this momentum should continue and the focus should simultaneously shift to the rural areas. This, he said, will help India achieve 60% to 70% vaccination in the months to come to avoid the severity of the third wave.