The number of vaccinations and tests to detect Covid-19 are coming down in India, despite the threat of the Omicron new variant causing a third-wave looms large over the country's 130 crore plus population.
Despite the world's largest vaccination initiative, so far only 79.13 crore Indians have received the first dose of any Covid-19 vaccines permitted in the country. Only 45.82 crore are fully vaccinated with both doses, as per the latest Government data. Around 12 crore Indians have also not bothered to take the second dose, even after the due date of vaccination. At the same time, more than 22.78 crore doses remain unutilised with the states, out of the 138 crore doses so far provided by the Central Government.
A month ago, the Government had stepped up the vaccination drive with a new nationwide campaign - ‘Har Ghar Dastak’, for creating more awareness through a house-to-house campaign. Rajesh Bhushan, Union Health Secretary says the campaign has resulted in a hike of 5.9% in the first dose coverage and a jump of 11.7% in the second dose as of November end. From June 21, in the new phase of the universalisation of the vaccination drive, the Union Government is supplying 75% of the vaccines available free to the States and UTs.
Similarly, the number of diagnostic tests to detect the disease has also gone down in the country. India, which so far did 64.35 crore Covid-19 diagnostics tests, tested only 10.98 lakh samples on December 1. The number of samples tested on the previous day was 11.08 lakhs, which is not even half the capacity of the Covid-19 diagnostics centres created since the pandemic hit India in March 2020. The number of testing was at a peak of over 16 lakhs mostly in April and over 20-21 lakhs in May, when the delta virus was ravaging the country in its second coming.
With the number of cases coming down after the second wave, the number of tests has also gone down steeply. In November, only 3.1 lakh new cases were reported in the country. On Tuesday, there were only 8,954 cases and 267 deaths, and 9,765 new cases were detected in the last 24 hours. Of this, more than half are from Kerala. India's active caseload currently stands at 99,763 patients, which is only 0.29% of the total cases so far, and is the lowest since the outbreak of the virus in March 2020.