Recently, a bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Justice Chandrachud had asked the centre to present a roadmap on its preparations and plans of COVID-19 vaccination drives. On Saturday, the centre presented a 375-page affidavit on how it plans to buy the remaining 135 crore doses.
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The centre in its affidavit told the apex court that it expects to provide both doses to its entire adult population by the end of this year. As per the calculated census, the total adult population in the country is approximate 93-94 crore. Out of which, only 5.6% of the total population has been vaccinated till now under the last calculations made. The centre is convinced of getting almost 188 crore vaccine doses by five different manufacturers by the end of this year, accomplishing the need for doses for the adult population.
"Total population - above 18 years of age - is approximately 93-94 crore. As such, administering two doses to these beneficiaries would require about 186 to 188 crore vaccine doses. Out of this requirement, 51.6 crore doses will be made available for administration by July 31, leaving a requirement of approximately 135 crore vaccine doses for complete vaccination to the eligible population," the Centre said in the affidavit that was filed by Additional Secretary of the Health Ministry, Manohar Agnani.
In the affidavit, the Centre showed its statistics of how it is expecting the required doses. It confirmed that till June 25, they have provided 31 crore vaccines through the COWIN app. However, the registration in the COWIN app is no longer mandatory, giving easier access to vaccination to the rural population. In rural areas, people can directly go to the nearest center and get vaccinated. About 56.24 percent of the rural population have taken the jabs, it said.
It further mentioned that they have made all vaccines free for people above 18 years of age.
In reply to questions on doses for minors, the Centre further mentioned that vaccines Biological E and Zydus Cadila, both domestic pharmaceutical companies, are in the late stages of clinical trials and are expected to be approved soon. Zydus Cadila is working on a vaccine for 12-18 years of age and thus jabs for the above age group will be available soon.
Retorting, the Government called its vaccine policy ‘dynamic and not static’. The centre indirectly stated that it wants to be trusted and be given the needed time as we are still a developing country with a vast population.