50% of target population gets at least one Covid dose

Half of target population gets at least one Covid-19 vaccine dose

At 9:30 pm, the Co-WIN portal on vaccination showed 47,27,27,193 people receiving the first dose of the vaccine

Representative image. Credit: AFP File Photo

India on Thursday crossed the milestone of inoculating half of its target population with at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine with the hope that such a strategy may help in tackling the third wave of the epidemic as and when it comes.

At 9:30 pm, the Co-WIN portal on vaccination showed 47,27,27,193 people receiving the first dose of the vaccine, which was 3,72,395 persons more than the 50% target. The halfway mark was reached seven and half months after the vaccination campaign began.

"India achieves unprecedented milestone! 50% of the eligible population inoculated with the first dose of Covid-19 vaccine," tweeted Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya. Nearly 99% of healthcare workers and 100% of frontline workers received the first dose, added Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan.

Also Read | Centre considering reduction of gap between two doses of Covishield

The worrying point, however, is the 3.5 times gap between those receiving the first dose and those getting both with new scientific evidence increasingly demonstrating the inadequacy of a single dose to impart protection against the Delta variant, which is the dominant strain in India.

A large hospital-based study in Delhi has recently found that a single dose of Covishield barely offers any protection from Covid-19 symptoms or severe disease, but having both doses offers good protection against the virus. This, however, contradicts previous research that found even a single dose can offer significant protection.

“Recent publications on the vaccine effectiveness study from India have shown that the risk reduction is associated with being fully vaccinated,” said Oommen John, a senior public health researcher at the George Institute of Global Health, here, who is not associated with any of the two studies.

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