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Is Covid-19 vaccination lower in states with greater minority numbers?

On Wednesday, India recorded fewer than 100,000 new Covid-19 cases for the second consecutive day. The country had hit a record of 420,000 infections just a month ago. Though infections have been falling, the pace of vaccination is nowhere close to the 10 million target envisaged by the government. Despite the government opening up vaccination for all age groups between 18-44, India has been averaging 2.8 million vaccinations daily. Albeit higher than the 1.9 million vaccinations it averaged daily in May, it is much lower than the 3.7 million daily vaccinations it had achieved on April 14. .....
On Wednesday, India recorded fewer than 100,000 new Covid-19 cases for the second consecutive day. The country had hit a record of 420,000 infections just a month ago. Though infections have been falling, the pace of vaccination is nowhere close to the 10 million target envisaged by the government. Despite the government opening up vaccination for all age groups between 18-44, India has been averaging 2.8 million vaccinations daily. Albeit higher than the 1.9 million vaccinations it averaged daily in May, it is much lower than the 3.7 million daily vaccinations it had achieved on April 14.

Moreover, despite the fact that the pace of vaccination is picking up, the process seems inequitable. An earlier BS analysis had found that more educated districts had a higher per capita vaccination than lower educated districts. More important, female education made a difference to vaccination strategy.

Further analysis of vaccination data coupled with Census data shows that minorities may not be getting their fair share across states.

District-wise analysis of India data shows that districts with higher percentage of Muslims have a lower per capita vaccination than districts with relatively fewer Muslims.

As per Census 2011, the average Muslim population across the country’s districts is 12.8 per cent. Districts with more than 12.8 per cent Muslims had administered 13.9 doses per 100 people until last week; in comparison, districts with less than 12.8 per cent Muslims had administered 15.7 doses per 100 people.

However, while more Muslim-populated districts fare worse, districts with higher Christian populations fare better.

The average Christian population, as per Census 2011, is 7.1 per cent. Districts, where the Christian population was more, fared much better, having administered 17.6 doses per 100 people than areas with a lower-than-average Christian population (14.7).

But not all states fare worse on this metric. A state-wide data analysis concerning minority population shows that some states have covered more vaccinations in minority districts.

We compute the average Muslim population across each state for this exercise and determine how many vaccination doses have been administered per 100 people when the proportion is higher than average and compare it to districts where the ratio is lower.

Data analysis shows that of the 34 states and union territories, 15 states and UTs fare worse for the Muslim community. In Madhya Pradesh, for instance, districts with a higher Muslim population fare better than the districts with a lower-than-average Muslim population. Districts with a greater Muslim population have administered 12.9 doses per 100 people, whereas districts with a lower-than-average Muslim population have administered 9.6 doses. In Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan and Odisha, the situation is similar to Madhya Pradesh.

In Uttar Pradesh, areas with more Muslim populations have administered higher doses than areas with lower Muslim populations.

But states like Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, West Bengal and Assam fare worse in this regard. In these regions, areas with higher percentage of Muslims have administered lower doses than areas with fewer Muslims.

The story is not too different where Christians are concerned.



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