Reports On Number of Vaccines In May Incorrect, Says Centre

The reports questioning prioritisation of population segments are not supported by full information on the matter, said the ministry's statement.

Reports On Number of Vaccines In May Incorrect, Says Centre

Prioritisation of vaccine beneficiaries was based on scientific evidence, said the ministry. File

New Delhi:

The Union Health Ministry on Wednesday termed as "factually incorrect and without any basis" media reports alleging that while the Centre has promised 120 million doses -- 12 crore doses -- of anti-Covid vaccines in June, only around 58 million doses were administered of the 79 million doses available in May.

According to the ministry's data at 7 am on June 1, between May 1 and May 31, a total of 61.06 million vaccine doses were administered by the states and Union territories.

A total of 16.22 million balance and unutilised doses were available with the states. The total number of vaccine shots available from May 1-31 was 79.45 million, the ministry said in a statement.

There have been several unfounded media reports that have peddled misinformation among the masses regarding this exercise of national importance, the ministry said, adding that the total number of Covid vaccine doses administered in the country has reached 21,85,46,667.

"There have been media reports alleging the Union Government promising 120 million doses of vaccines during June 2021 while administering only around 58 million doses from the total of 79 million doses available in the month of May. This report is factually incorrect and without any basis," the statement said.

Some media reports have criticised India's vaccination policy based on unverified quotes, it said, adding that these reports, questioning the prioritisation of population segments, are not supported by full information on the matter.

The prioritisation of beneficiaries for Covid vaccination was based on a review of available scientific evidence, WHO guidelines, global examples and practices followed in other countries, the ministry said.

In India, the primary objectives of vaccination are to protect the healthcare workers as part of the pandemic response system, prevent deaths and protect individuals at the highest risk and vulnerability of mortality due to the disease, it said.

Accordingly, it said, the vaccination drive has been sequentially expanded to cover the prioritised groups, starting with the healthcare workers, followed by the frontline workers, then people aged 60 years and above and those aged 45-59 years with 20 identified comorbidities.

Subsequently, from April 1, all citizens aged 45 years and above became eligible for vaccination.

Such an approach has yielded positive results by achieving more than 81 per cent first-dose coverage among the registered healthcare workers and around 84 per cent first-dose coverage among the frontline workers, thereby protecting these sections who are involved in providing healthcare services, surveillance and containment activities amid the second wave of the pandemic, the ministry said.

Also, 37 per cent beneficiaries in the 45 years and above age group have been administered the first dose of the vaccine, and 32 per cent of the eligible beneficiaries in this segment have received the second dose, the statement said.

From May 1, all citizens aged 18 years and above became eligible for vaccination. A "Liberalised Pricing and Accelerated National COVID-19 Vaccination Strategy" was adopted on May 1 which is guiding the ongoing third phase of the vaccination drive, it said.

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