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Maharashtra, UP, Delhi getting lower vaccine doses than needed: SBI report

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As the country reels under the severe impact of the second wave of Covid, key states such as Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh (UP), Chhattisgarh and the capital city Delhi are getting lower vaccine doses than they require, suggests a latest report by State Bank of India's (SBI's) economic wing, authored by Dr. Soumya Kanti Ghosh, their group chief economic adviser. 

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Given that vaccination could be the only driver as of now to contain the disease, SBI's economic wing did an disaggregated analysis to estimate the ideal share of each State in total vaccines based on distribution parameters including population over 18 years, total deaths, Covid cases and deaths in States and juxtaposed it with the vaccine distribution.

Maharashtra, the report said, should have a share of 17.8 per cent in the total vaccine allocation. However, as per the current data, its share is only 10.1 per cent. “Even if we include the vaccine doses in the pipeline, the share is going to rise marginally to 10.2 per cent which will still be below the required doses,” the report said.

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On the other hand, Rajasthan, Kerala, West Bengal and Gujarat, according to the report, have received more vaccine doses than needed given their population, Covid cases and share in deaths. Tamil Nadu, Haryana, Punjab, Bihar and North Eastern States are the states where vaccination wastage is ‘quite high’, the report said.

“Thus such states with a lower share have to procure a large number of vaccines in future from the manufacturers to fill the gap. However, we also need to understand that there will be always be a gap in ex-ante and ex-post vaccine distribution given the spread of Covid has been almost difficult to predict,” Ghosh said.

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That said, SBI estimates that India has given 160.5 million doses of vaccine, with around 131 million people having taken the first dose and 31.5 million fully vaccinated taking both doses. The percentage of people who have taken double dose to total vaccination doses, according to Ghosh, is now around 19.5 per cent. However, the daily vaccine doses given is now at an average of 17 lakhs per day compared to an average of 28 lakhs per day in April. 

"Given this trend, we believe India can only be able to vaccinate 15 per cent of population by Oct’21 (which is required for herd immunity given the other countries’ trend) but only if we are able to vaccinate around 55 lakhs daily in September and October," Ghosh said.

Meanwhile, the policymakers, on their part, are trying to help manufacturers ramp up the manufacturing capacity of essentials needed to fight the pandemic.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in a recent announcement opened a Rs 50,000 liquidity window exclusively for companies involved in providing vaccine, oxygen, ventilator etc. Bank of Baroda (BoB) sanctioned Rs 500 crore to Adar Poonawalla-controlled Serum Institute of India (SII) that is producing the Covishield vaccine.

Covid reaches hinterland

Another worrying trend, according to Ghosh, is the rise in Covid infected cases in rural India. The share of rural districts in new cases increased to 45.5 per cent in April and 48.5 per cent in May compared to 36.8 per cent in March. 

“When looked district wise, there is a clear shift visible with Maharashtra’s rural districts being maximum affected in March (11 of 15 worst-affected rural districts from Maharashtra) to now spread to other States including Andhra Pradesh (5 in top 15 worst affected rural districts), Kerala (2 districts), Karnataka (1), Rajasthan (1) and Maharashtra having 6 now,” Ghosh wrote.

The one state that has shown improvement is Chhattisgarh, which had 3 rural districts in top 15 during March and has no district now in the top 15 worst affected rural districts.

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