WITH A fresh surge in Covid cases across the country, there was a 44.3 per cent increase in the number of “precautionary” or booster doses administered during the past week as compared to the week before.
Official figures show that around 47.5 lakh third doses were administered in the first 15 days of June compared with 41.5 lakh during the last 15 days of May. The country reported 12,213 new Covid cases on Thursday against 7,240 cases last Thursday — hospitalisations and deaths have continued to remain low.
The data also show that five metros saw an average 77.9 per cent increase in the number of booster doses administered during the past week, driven mainly by a 212.5 per cent increase in Chennai, according to an analysis of data on the CoWIN portal.
The spike comes at a time when the Government is pushing to cover the elderly population through the Har Ghar Dastak campaign 2.0 that started this month. It is also looking to increase the coverage of the first two doses among children between the ages of 12 and 17 years.
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A big chunk of the rise in booster doses for adults under the age of 60 years is likely to be recorded in metros and urban centres with a high number of private medical facilities. The Government’s free vaccination drive for booster doses covers only those above 60 years, and healthcare and frontline workers.
According to the data, a Covid surge in Mumbai has coincided with a consistent increase in precaution dose coverage over the last two weeks during the door-to-door campaign. There was a 31 per cent increase in the number of booster shots administered this week than the past week.
Bengaluru also saw a week-on-week increase during June — a 6.8 per cent increase during the first seven days of June over the previous week and 49.2 per cent rise during the second week.
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Delhi and Kolkata recorded fluctuations in the booster numbers of June. Delhi saw a 5.9 per cent decline in the first week of June followed by a 32.4 per cent increase. Kolkata saw a decline of 9.7 per cent in the first week of June followed by a 64.3 per cent increase, as per CoWIN data.
The data show a 41.8 per cent increase in cumulative vaccine doses across the country during the past week, which is less than the increase seen for booster doses.
Among the metros, the rate of increase in booster doses was higher than for the total number of doses in Delhi and Kolkata — the capital saw a 15.8 per cent in total number of doses and Kolkata a 55.01 per cent increase.