During a media briefing, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) director-general Dr Balram Bhargava said that Centre will be able to fulfil its goal of vaccinating the entire adult population of India by December 2021.
“We need to be patient. We have administered nearly as many vaccine doses as the United States. There is no shortage of vaccines. By mid-July or August, we will have enough doses to vaccinate 1 crore people per day. We are confident of vaccinating the whole population by December,” he said.
The assertion comes just days after the Union health ministry said that 12 crore doses of vaccines will be available in India in the month of June itself.
Currently, the nationwide vaccination programme is progressing at a slow pace due to shortage of doses.
Reopening of districts
Specifying norms for opening districts, the ICMR chief said that the Covid positivity rate should be below five per cent for a week, over 70 per cent vulnerable population should be vaccinated and there should be community ownership to implement Covid-appropriate behaviour.
He said the positivity rate is less than five per cent in 344 districts while 30 states and UTs have reported a decline in active Covid-19 cases since the last week.
The ICMR DG added that 239 districts have registered more than 10% positivity rate.
There has also been an almost 69 per cent decline in Covid cases since the peak recorded on May 7, he said.
No mixing of doses yet
The government also clarified that mixing vaccines is not a protocol till further update and there is no change in the schedule of the two-dose Covishield and Covaxin vaccines.
” … it is being said that now only one dose of Covishield would be given. I would like to clarify that only two doses of Covishield are scheduled in India. After the first Covishield dose is administered, the second dose will be given after 12 weeks. There is no change. The same is applicable to Covaxin. First dose and then the second one after four to six weeks,” he said.
India has been administering doses of Covishield and Covaxin since the inoculation drive began in January. Russia’s Sputnik V was recently added to the immunization programme and is being administered in select hospitals.
Cases continue downward trend
Meanwhile, Covid cases in India continue to maintain a downward trajectory. The country reported 1.27 lakh fresh cases on Tuesday in a major dip from 1.52 lakh recorded a day earlier.
Fatalities also fell below the 3,000-mark today with 2,795 new deaths. The active cases in India have now fallen below the 19-lakh mark.
(With inputs from agencies)