Coronavirus Infections in India at Five-Month Low Amid Vaccination Push

People wait in a queue to receive the vaccine against coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outside a shopping mall in Mumbai, India, August 11, 2021. REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas

India administered more than 8.8 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines in the past 24 hours, government data showed on Tuesday, close to its all-time record and speeding up a campaign to inoculate all eligible adults by December.

The surge in inoculations came alongside a sharp decline in daily new infections that fell to 25,166, the lowest since March 16, health ministry said.

India has undertaken one of the world’s largest COVID-19 vaccination drives and has so far administered 554 million doses, giving at least one dose to about 46% of its estimated 944 million adults. Only about 13% of the population have had the required two doses.

After hitting a record high of 9.2 million doses on June 21, the pace of daily inoculations had dropped to around 4.2 million on an average in July, according to data compiled from the government’s CoWIN website.

In the first two weeks of August, India administered about 5 million doses on an average everyday.

Experts have said India needs to administer 10 million doses a day to achieve its aim of inoculating all adults by December.

“For each day we fall short of it, the required target goes further up,” Rijo John, health economist and a professor at the Rajagiri College of Social Sciences in the southern city of Kochi.

“Realistically, I do not think we will be able to cover all adults fully by this year’s end.”

India’s overall COVID-19 case load on Tuesday reached 32.25 million, the second-highest globally behind the United States. The country reported 437 deaths over the last 24 hours, taking the toll to 432,079, the government said.

SOURCE: Reuters, Neha Arora and Shilpa Jamkhandikar