October 25, 2021
October 22, 2021 Prime Minister Modi hailed the Covid-19 vaccination policy of India as a milestone in the control of the pandemic and hoped that the country’s policy of self reliance would revive its economy and boost the confidence of its people. People rejoiced and appreciated the efforts of Prime Minister Modi in controlling the pandemic while the opposition started criticizing Modi for patting his back. In this connection, this article examines the successes of India’s Covid policy and its failures.
Covid 19 in India
Though it is nearly two years since Covid-19 emerged, it still lingers on. While the number of cases and deaths due to Covid 19 in the world is still high, the numbers are reducing substantially in India. India has been able to control the pandemic to a great extent by taking precautions and by administering the vaccine. In my earlier study, I have given different factors of Coronavirus as care taken by the Government of India headed by Mr Modi, racial and cultural factors, immunity of the Indian population, high atmospheric temperature, food habits, less urbanization, less travelling and a democratic political structure. For the present study, 10 countries were selected which have around five million cases and the figures are given in table 1.
As seen in table 1, USA leads the table with 46 million cases followed by India (34 million) and Brazil (22million). USA with 24 percent of India’s population leads the table. The above table gives the number of cases and death due to Covid-19 in absolute numbers but the real indicator of the extent of the pandemic is not absolute number of cases and deaths but number of cases and deaths per one million population. The same is given in tables 2 and 3 respectively. As we see in table 2 though India is in second position in terms of total number of cases occupies 10th position in terms of total number of cases per 1 million population. It is because India is doing well in controlling the pandemic in spite of the large population.
Similarly, in table 3 number of Coronavirus deaths/1 million population is given. As expected, here too, India is standing in the last position and it is far below the world average of 635.5 per 1 million population.
While India is doing well in terms of number of cases and deaths per 1 million population, it is not doing well in terms of vaccinations in spite of reaching a billion mark. Of course, our medical personnel have worked hard to achieve this target. Table 4 shows the vaccination status of some of the important countries which are ahead of India.
As table 4 shows United Arab Emirates stands first in total percentage of population being vaccinated and Portugal stands first (85.83%) in fully vaccinating its people. India though with one billion vaccinations stands even below the world average and much lower than United Arab Emirates. Taking into account the estimated population of India as on October 22, 2021 to be 1,397,716,811 only 294,498,932 (21.07%) have been fully vaccinated and 417,218,468 (29.85%) have been partially vaccinated. The remaining 686,999,410 (49.08%) persons are yet to be vaccinated. So, the number of vaccinations required is 1,791,217,288 and this number is much more than the persons fully vaccinated.
What is there to celebrate when India becomes the second country in the world (after China) to complete 1 billion vaccinations? There are only two countries in the world which have more than 1 billion population, China and India. Even USA comes a distant third with 0.33 billion population. USA even with three doses of the vaccine will not reach 1 billion mark. So, when India becomes the second country in the world to complete 1 billion vaccinations it also becomes the last country (with billion + population) to complete billion vaccinations. Though India has vaccinated 1 billion vaccinations, it has to vaccinate 1.8 billion (table 5) more. When will India do it? Only when India completes 2.8 vaccinations, then we can celebrate.
What are the dangers associated with these celebrations? The medical personnel associated with vaccinations may become lax and India may not reach the target of fully vaccinating adult population by the end of the year 2021. People may also become lax and may not follow Covid restrictions thus inviting the third wave early.
In spite of a large population, though India stands second (after USA) in terms of Covid cases and third (after USA and Brazil) in terms of Covid deaths, while considering Covid cases and deaths per million population, it has done well in controlling Covid pandemic. Though India has completed 1 billion vaccinations recently, it has not done well comparing to other countries in terms of percentages of both complete vaccinations and partial vaccinations. So, it is not the time to celebrate 1 billion vaccinations, but march forward and fully complete the vaccinations of all the 139 crore Indians. India has a long way to go.