Sixty-nine per cent of the country’s adult population has received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine and 25 per cent has been administered both the doses, the government said on Thursday.
IMAGE: Beneficiaries stand in a queue to get registered for Covid-19 vaccine in New Delhi, September 29, 2021. Photograph: Brijesh Tiwari/ANI Photo.
It also said that increased population density raises chances of Covid-19 spread and it will be prudent to avoid non-essential travel and observe festivity at low key.
Addressing a press conference, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said that 64.1 per cent doses of Covid-19 vaccine has been administered in vaccination centres in rural areas and 35 per cent in urban areas.
A total of 67.4 lakh doses (approximately 0.88 per cent) have been administered at vaccination centres not tagged as rural/urban, he said.
Bhushan also stressed that the number of Covid-19 tests that are done every day has not reduced and it is still between 15 to 16 lakh tests a day.
“In that context the rate of positivity is coming down,” he said, adding that the weekly positivity has been less than three per cent for 13 consecutive days and all states should make efforts to bring it further down.
Indian Council of Medical Research Director General Dr Balram Bhargava cautioned against travelling linked to festivals, underlining that increased population density in any area associated with travel increases the chances of infection to tourists to local population, as well as travellers.
“So, it will be prudent to avoid non-essential travel and observe festivity but at low key,” he said.
Thirty districts in the country, including 13 in Kerala, eight in Mizoram, four in Meghalaya, three each in Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh, two in Sikkim and one in Meghalaya are reporting a weekly positivity rate of over 10 per cent, the health secretary said.
Besides, 18 districts are reporting a weekly positivity rated between five and 10 per cent, Bhushan said.
He said that 59.66 per cent of the total Covid-19 cases last week were reported from Kerala and it is the only state with over one lakh active cases currently.
Bhushan said 99 per cent of healthcare workers have received the first dose, while 85 per cent of the eligible healthcare workers have taken the second dose.
He said that 100 per cent of frontline workers have been administered the first dose, while 82 per cent of them have been given the second dose.
“Sixty-nine per cent of the country’s adult population has received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine and 25 per cent have been administered both the doses,” he said.
According to data shared by the health ministry, the average daily doses administered in a month has increased from 19.69 lakh in May to 39.89 lakh in June and then further to 43.41 lakh in July and to 59.19 lakh in August.
The average daily vaccination in September has been 79.08 lakh a day, Bhushan said.
He said of the total vaccinations during this period, 45.79 crore are men (52.1 per cent), 42.12 crore women (47.9 per cent) and around 0.02 per cent from ‘other’ gender .
Whether a special vaccination drive will be carried out on October 2, Bhushan said the vaccination programme started in India on January 16 and the objective of the government is to get the adult population of the country vaccinated in minimum time and in a safe manner.
“We do not set targets for particular days but development of each day in each state and Union Territory we share in public domain and it gives in real time the vaccination pace,” he said.
To a question on dengue vaccine, ICMR Director General Bhargava said, “Dengue vaccine is a very important agenda. We are looking at it very carefully. There are certain dengue strains which have been licensed to several companies in India.”
“We are working very closely with them to do the trials. Many of these companies have done their phase one trials outside India. We are planning to do the more rigorous trials, very soon,” he said.
With regard to Covaxin clearance from the World Health Organisation (WHO), Bhargava said, “We know that scientific data, public health considerations and international health requirements are all considered on which the clearance is given by the WHO. All these have been provided.”
These are being looked at and they will be decided by the WHO, he said.
Bhushan said there are certain states where the second dose coverage is on the lower side, and “we have drawn their attention, and we have provided a facility in the Co-WIN system where line listing of people who have missed their second dose can be generated”.
“So states have got those lists, and they are looking at these people and trying to ensure that second dose is given to these people,” he said.
On booster Covid-19 dose, Bhargava said the topic is not pertinent at the moment.
“The call of the hour is to give two doses of vaccine or full vaccination covering the entire adult population. That has to be the goal, that is the agenda and that has to be continued,” he said.
“We have had some studies from India, where, including Bangalore, from some hospitals they have looked at the antibodies, and they have found that antibodies are persisting for much longer, more than 95 per cent of the antibodies persist for up to a year,” Bhushan said.
Therefore, the concept or topic of booster dose should not be pertinent at the moment, he said.