India COVID vaccinations near record, new cases at five-month low

India administers nearly 9 million vaccine doses in a day as new infections drop to the lowest since March 16.

Rekha Ghosh, 64, receives a COVID vaccine during a door-to-door vaccination drive in Kolkata, India [Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters]

India has administered more than 8.8 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines in the past 24 hours, government data shows, close to its all-time record and speeding up a campaign to inoculate all eligible adults by December.

The surge in inoculations came alongside a sharp decline in daily new infections that fell to 25,166, the lowest since March 16, the health ministry said on Tuesday.

India has undertaken one of the world’s largest COVID-19 vaccination drives and has so far administered 554 million doses, giving at least one dose to about 46 percent of its estimated 944 million adults.

Mehroo Jal Langrama, 80, receives a vaccine at her home in Mumbai [Francis Mascarenhas/Reuters]

Only about 13 percent of the population have had the required two doses.

After hitting a record high of 9.2 million doses on June 21, the pace of daily inoculations had dropped to an average of about 4.2 million a day in July, according to data compiled from the government’s CoWIN website.

In the first two weeks of August, India administered about 5 million doses a day.

People wait to receive a COVID vaccine outside a shopping mall in Mumbai [Francis Mascarenhas/Reuters]

Experts have said India needs to administer 10 million doses a day to achieve its aim of inoculating all adults by December.

“For each day we fall short of it, the required target goes further up,” Rijo John, health economist and a professor at the Rajagiri College of Social Sciences in the southern city of Kochi.

“Realistically, I do not think we will be able to cover all adults fully by this year’s end.”

India’s overall COVID-19 caseload on Tuesday reached 32.25 million, the second-highest globally behind the United States.

The country reported 437 deaths over the last 24 hours, taking the toll to 432,079.

Source: Reuters