Full jabbing of Indian citizens by year-end is the need of the hour

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By Sushil Kutty

Indians bragging about India’s record per day vaccinations! Of course, after a point, India will top the world in vaccinations for the simple reason that India tops the world in population, second only to China. And if Indians don’t stop boasting, very soon India will also top the world in Covid-19 deaths, for one big brag deserves another.

Also, in the land of givens, yet another given is that Indians bragging about India’s record vaccinations are those Indians who are affiliated to the ruling BJP led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. And Indians ridiculing India for lagging in vaccinations are those Indians who back the Opposition.

The fact is Modi failed the tens of thousands who met a Covid end. In any other country, leading lights who mess up things are thrown under the bus. But Indians get away quicker than anybody can say ‘eel’. Slippery! Modi took the Covid-19 jab before the second Covid wave hit.

On June 21, a news agency reported that India gave out a record 7.5 million vaccine doses on June 20 under a federal campaign to inoculate all adults for free. The previous record was 4.5 million doses on April 5.

But over the next few weeks, the average daily inoculation fell to below 3 million. India has set itself a target of inoculating 950 million adults by December 2021. To keep that target and deadline, India will have to administer 10 million doses a day.

The problem is India has so far fully vaccinated with two doses only 5% of its population. India may still meet the deadline and inoculate 950 million by year-end if supply remains consistent.

The Modi Government says there will be 10 million doses of Covid vaccines per day in July and August. However, administering 10 million jabs daily is not a “set goal”. Speed of vaccinations should increase with the ramp-up of vaccination doses.

As of today, India is using Covishield and Covaxin vaccines. But there are several others lined up to join these two. Foreign vaccines will also be part of the package.

That said, will the authorities be able to maintain a balance between rural and city dwellers? Two-third of India lives in the countryside. The fear is that millions of Indians are vulnerable to infection and among these are those who fear the vaccine more than they fear Covid-19.

And while some of us count the number of vaccination doses per day and wonder if the Modi Government will be able to meet the deadline, there are among us people who are shooting at each other from both sides of the aisle.

While a bunch of people are bragging about India delivering a “New Zealand everyday” in vaccinations, others are saying that Prime Minister Narendra Modi would do well if he learned the ropes of vaccinating millions from the New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arden.

The reality is that while New Zealand was very successful in keeping the coronavirus at bay, it has only vaccinated 11% of its population with the first dose by mid-June, 2021. Prime Minister Jacinda Aardem took her first dose on June 17 and has promised to vaccinate all New Zealanders by the end-2021, a deadline that New Zealand shares with India.

Therefore, for Indians to expend energy by getting into a spat as to which regime, the Modi regime or the regime which polio-vaccinated millions of infants, vaccinated more Indians, comparing polio vaccinations with Covid vaccinations, is an exercise in futility, meaningless and manufactured.

It’s the ‘manipulated media’ which is fuelling this spat and should be stopped immediately. The coronavirus and its offspring – Covid-19 in all its variants – doesn’t differentiate between humans, and fighting a global pandemic requires a universal effort, not a divided house.

It’s a no-brainer that if vaccines are readily available in sufficient numbers and if everybody shucks vaccine hesitancy, vaccinating even 950 million wouldn’t be a problem. So stop the brag, and the boast, and stay focused on the target, like Arjuna on the eye of the fish. (IPA Service)

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