January 16, 2021, a day that gave the people of India, especially doctors, a glimmer of hope as the country witnessed the beginning of the vaccination programme.
The CoWin App was overwhelmed as millions tried to access it while booking a slot for vaccines. Covishield, Covaxin hit the markets, followed by Sputnik.
The app aimed to be an easily accessible app that could serve both the users and government as the former used it to book a slot and the latter to keep track of the vaccinated population.
It created quite the opposite effect for those who fell under the section of the population that did not have access to the Internet in the first place initially.
The government did take into account the above and introduced the “Dialing method” wherein people could dial “1075” to book a slot.
All this sounds promising, right?
However, numbers say otherwise. Activist Raman Sharma filed a query under the Right to Information Act seeking to know from the administration the number of people who received the first dose of the vaccines- Covisheild and Covaxin but failed to take the second dose within the stipulated time frame.
In response to the query, here are the numbers- According to Cowin Portal, as of Thursday Afternoon, 44,22,85,854 received their first dose while 12,59,07,443 have completed vaccination with the second dose.
The vaccine beneficiaries of Covishield who failed to take their second shot is 3,40,72,993 and for that of Covaxin amounts to 46,78,406.
The government of India responded, saying there’s no recommendation of these vaccines who got their first shot and who failed to get their second one to get the first dose again.
According to the Union Ministry, the stipulated time frame for the second dose of Covishield is 84-112 days, while that for Covaxin is 28-42 days.
What went sideways?
With only 13% of the eligible population being vaccinated, questions about why people and the government are not working unanimously towards vaccination amidst the pandemic plaguing our lives.
India administers nearly 9 million doses in a day; we still need to maintain this pace consistently. The government seated at the very heart of the nation needs to continue taking efforts towards inclusivity of the section affected by the digital divide.
The states and the centre need to join hands to meet the target set for completely vaccinated India by year-end in a significant proportion, if not entirely.
With still millions unprotected against the third wave of the pandemic, governments need to come out of the vicious political cycle of elections or certain decisions, which seem to overpower our health priorities at the moment.