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Oct 11, 2021

#LargestVaccinationDrive: How is it going?

#LargestVaccinationDrive: How is it going? Nine months since the first dose of COVID vaccine was administered in the country, Kruxd breaks down the numbers in the marathon to vaccinate India’s 1.4 billion people.

By Tariq Hashmat · Oct 11, 2021

On October 2, 2021, India’s COVID vaccinations crossed the 900 million mark, and yet it is just 25 per cent of the eligible population that is fully vaccinated. Given the size of the country's population, anything less than record breaking vaccine rollouts would not suffice.

Nine months since the first dose of COVID vaccine was administered in the country, Kruxd breaks down the numbers in the marathon to vaccinate a country of 1.4 billion people.


COVID vaccinations in India began in a phased manner on January 16, 2021, aimed first at frontline and healthcare workers. It was then gradually expanded to include at-risk and elderly population groups, followed by all adults above the age of 18 years on May 1. This came as the country was still in the middle of a devastating second wave during which daily vaccination numbers too came down significantly.

Nags in production, procurement and logistics continued to ensure an underwhelming rate. The numbers have picked up post-second wave, with record high numbers on several days - most notably September 17, when a record 22.8 million doses were administered on a single day.

In May 2021, Union Minister Prakash Javedkar had declared that India would fully vaccinate its entire eligible population by December. For this to happen, about a billion doses will need to be administered in the next 83 days - a seemingly impossible task when India has managed to cross the 10 million doses-a-day mark a day on only 6 occasions in the last nine months.

Where does India stand?

Nearly 70 per cent of India’s eligible population has received at least one dose of COVID vaccine. Complete vaccination, however, has been attained for about a quarter of the eligible population. The country ranks a modest 113th in the world in fully vaccinating its population against COVID-19.

Vaccination coverage by at least first dose varies greatly across the country’s 28 states and 8 union territories - from over 80 per cent in Goa to 29 per cent in Meghalaya. Only two regions however - Sikkim and the island territory of Lakshadweep - have crossed the 50 per cent mark in fully vaccinating their residents.

Gender gap in vaccinations?

Over the course of the vaccination drive, conflicting reports surfaced up on the gender ratio of India’s vaccine recipients - highlighting the disparity, as well appreciating the lack of it. Preliminary assessment of gender stratified vaccination data does reveal some degree of gender gap, but one that is a reflection of the country’s population demographics.

By October 9, nearly 36 million fewer women had received a vaccine dose than men. This translates to a gender ratio of 925 women to 1000 men, in a country where the population itself has a gender ratio of 926 women to 1000 men.

What is the vaccine of choice?

Locally produced vaccines Covishield and Covaxin were the first ones to be approved for use in India, and constitute a large chunk of the doses administered so far. Russia’s Sputnik V, approved in April, makes up for less than 0.1 per cent. 

Three more vaccines have been approved for use - Moderna, Jansen and ZyCoV-D. These, however, have not seen public rollout yet.

India has just about reached the halfway point in fully vaccinating its entire eligible population. While the next half will take considerably less time, the road out of this pandemic is still long and windy.

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