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Sanjeev Kumar Patro

News Highlights

  • As per the Census projections, the population of children and teens in the age group of 2-18 years in Odisha in 2021 is over 1.35 crore. And the doses required to vaccinate the target population in the State is estimated at around 1.4 cr to 4.4 crore (depending on single to three doses, including 10 percent wastage).

Even as the month of September is going to be etched into the pages of history in the country, after the nod to Zydus Cadilla's ZyCoV-D and soon-to-be authorization of the Bharat Biotech Covaxin kid version for emergency use, how well placed is Odisha to kick-start the vaccination programme for the kids and teens in the State?

Significantly, when the vaccine candidates in the country are raring to go, the all-important guidelines with regard to vaccinating kids nationally is yet to come out. In the given context, the moot point then is will the vaccination programme for below 18-years begin in the country from next month?

Hen And Egg Problem

When the adult population (18-years and above) in the country fully vaccinated as of August 20 stood at a paltry 9.2 per cent, and only 23 per cent jabbed with a single dose, the country is nowhere near the halfway mark.

As of date, the total number of doses administered in the country stands at 57.6 crore. The Union government has to procure 130 crore more in the remaining 120 days to achieve the target of inoculating the population of 18-plus years and above by December end this year.

Not A Child's Play

Since the current vaccine candidates in the country that either is approved for emergency use or to be approved, cater to the age group of 2-18 years, the total population eligible to take the jab nationally stands at over 44.8 crore ( as per Census 2021 projections). And the country needs at least 44 crore to 135 crore doses (depending on single dose {Bharat Biotech's BBV154} to 3-doses {ZyCov-D}).

The above numbers show the task of procuring doses for below and above 18 years will be a massive over 209 crore doses by December end this year.

Vaccine Production Capacity

As per the data provided by the Union Health  Ministry to the Parliamentary Committee attached to the department, from August, the total vaccine doses produced per month by SII (12 crore) and Bharat Biotech (5.8 cr) stands at around 18 crore doses. The Zydus Cadilla's current per month production capacity (as per ZCH CEO) is around 91 lakh. The total monthly production of vaccines in the country as of date stands at around 19 crore.

In order to inoculate the population from 2 years and above, the country has to procure at least 17.5 crore doses per month. In total, the country needs a whopping 70 crore doses to vaccinate the population of 2 years and above by December end.

Meanwhile, the Centre in July had placed an order to procure 44 crore doses, when the requirement per month for vaccinating 18 plus population is around 32 crore doses ( 130 crore doses required by December).

Given the gigantic procurement required, the country's COVID19 workgroup is mulling to first vaccinate children and teens above 12 years with co-morbidities like congenital heart disease to cancer and diabetes.

Odisha In Vaccination Map

As on date, Odisha had administered a total of over 2.04 crore doses. And only around 48 lakh have been fully vaccinated, which is a mere 15.4 per cent of the targeted 3.17 crore population (as per Census 2021 projections). If the single doses administered is taken into account, then the proportion is estimated at around 65 per cent.

In order to fully vaccinate the target population of 18 years and above by December end, Odisha needs a high of over 3.7 crore doses or 93.8 lakh per month.

 Kids Inoculation Plot In Odisha

As per the Census projections, the population of children and teens in the age group of 2-18 years in Odisha in 2021 is over 1.35 crore. And the doses required to vaccinate the target population in the State is estimated at around 1.4 cr to 4.4 crore (depending on single to three doses, including 10 percent wastage).

Overall, in order to immunize the population of 2 years and above by December, Odisha needs a huge 6.4 crore doses or 1.6 crore doses per month.

A Tall Order?

In the backdrop of the gigantic requirement of vaccines, experts on the ground believe that the Union Health Ministry is unlikely to start universal immunisation of population from 2-18 years from September itself. Because, the country's COVID-19 work group has gone on record to state that immunising 18 years and above is the topmost vaccine imperative for the country, as they are prone to develop serious complications following coronavirus infection.  

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