Prime Minister Narendra Modi receives the second dose of COVID-19 vaccine, at AIIMS in New Delhi, on April 8, 2021./ File
Prime Minister Narendra Modi receives the second dose of COVID-19 vaccine, at AIIMS in New Delhi, on April 8, 2021./ File

In this COVID-19 times, India does hold a special position as it is a manufacturing country when it comes to COVID-19 vaccines. Thus, it also holds a position either to keep a large chunk of vaccines to themselves or export some vaccines. Yet India, unlike many other wealthy countries, did not just stick to immunising its people before. But decided to sell or share it with wealthy and less wealthy countries. Today, India may be falling short.

To correct this, India has adopted some measures too.

Due to the shortage of vaccine/ rise in demand for vaccine in the country, India has put a temporary hold on all major exports of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 shot made by the Serum Institute of India (SII). India is also in the midst of the second COVID-19 wave. So, there is an impetus now to inoculating its own populace before exporting.

As per the government data, India has so far supplied more than 60 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to 76 countries. This includes 8.5 million doses provided as grants and commercial supplies of 34 million doses. There has been no discrimination in sharing the vaccine with other countries. But with demand in India rising, maybe India will change its stance of "sharing (selling) is caring".

Vaccination as per population

According to Bloomberg data, more than 726 million shots have been administered around the world. Meanwhile, India (as of April 8) has administered around 94 million doses. It is the third largest country in the case of doses administered, while the first one is the US which administered 174 million doses and the second one is China who administered 149 million doses.

The United States is sourcing its vaccines from various manufacturers, thus, it has been able to administer so many doses. But even though India and China are vaccine producing countries and home to around 2.7 billions people combined.

According to a report, enough vaccines have now been administered to fully vaccinate about 5 per cent of the global population. Most vaccines are going to the wealthiest countries. “As of Thursday, 40 per cent of the Covid-19 vaccines administered globally have gone to people in 27 wealthy nations that represent 11 per cent of the global population.”

It is found that countries making up the least-wealthy 11 per cent have gotten just 1.6 per cent of the COVID-19 vaccine. “In other words, countries with the highest incomes are vaccinating 25 times faster than those with the lowest.”

The Bloomberg data shows that countries like Israel and UAE have vaccinated nine and 12 times more than their population-based share. “Israel leads all countries, with enough vaccinations to cover 56.4 per cent of its population.” These top countries are followed by the US that had administered nearly six times its fair share and UK seven times.

Where does India stand in case of COVID-19 vaccine discrimination even though it struggles with shortage?
Bloomberg data

Meanwhile, China has immunised as per the global average. China has also exported vaccines to less wealthy countries. Just like India, China has also administered vaccines for free among less wealthy countries. Meanwhile, in the case of population, India has vaccinated 3.4 per cent of its people. This number is even less among African countries that is around 1 per cent.

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Free Press Journal