A nationwide survey has found that 39 per cent of respondents knew a family member or friend unable to access a Covid-19 vaccine this month, pointing to lingering vaccine shortages despite a 25 per cent increase in supplies during August over July.
The survey by Local Circles — a private entity that uses social media to seek citizens’ feedback on public issues — found 29 per cent of 9,516 respondents knew two or more persons who faced vaccine stockouts at vaccination centres over the past month. Ten per cent knew at least one such person.
But the survey has also detected impacts of increased supplies of doses — a decline in the proportion of such responses from 70 per cent on May 31 to 65 per cent on July 14 to 39 per cent on August 20.
A top health official had said last month that India would have around 150 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines during August, a 25 per cent increase over the 120 million doses available during July. Health officials have said they expect the quantum of available doses to increase month by month.
“We’re seeing fewer shortages now than in May or July, but they persist,” said Sachin Taparia, chief executive officer of Local Circles.
Residents in Bengal, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh had last week reported on Local Circles about difficulties in accessing vaccines.
India’s vaccination campaign that started on January 16 this year has so far administered 590 million doses, but only around 130 million people (13.7 per cent) of the estimated 943 million eligible adults have been fully vaccinated with two doses.
The campaign over the past month has administered less than six million doses daily. It would have to administer 9.9 million doses daily through the rest of the year to fully vaccinate all adults by December-end.