India’s cumulative COVID-19 vaccination coverage has crossed the 52-crore mark and until now the Union government has provided more than 54.04 crore vaccine doses provided to states and union territories (UTs). At the current rate of vaccination, India would reach a critical mass of 70% fully vaccinated people by March next year, says a research note.
In the report, State Bank of India (SBI) says, "If we go by the present vaccination rate of 45 lakh per day, then the critical mass of 70% may be covered by end November 2021 for the first dose and by 15 March 2022 for the second dose. If the daily vaccination rate falls to 30 lakh per day, then it would take 455 days or 15 months, while if the rate increases to 1 crore, then all adults in the country can be vaccinated in five months."
COVID-19 cases in the US are currently at a six-month high. "In the last one-month, new COVID cases in the US have jumped four times. However, with rising vaccination doses countries are experiencing lower deaths," SBI points out while highlighting the importance of vaccination.
In India, during the past 50 days, daily new COVID cases and deaths have remained almost constant. "In the last 50 days, the daily cases have averaged to 3.0 per 1 lakh population, while daily deaths average to 0.6 per 1 million," SBI says.
With rural India leading from the front, the daily vaccination numbers have again started to gather pace. During the past month the speed of vaccination has accelerated. At present, the seven-day moving average (MA) is about 45 lakh and 43% of the eligible population is vaccinated with the first dose and 12% with the second dose.
The latest nationwide serological survey conducted by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) showed 67.6% in the age group of 6 and above having COVID antibodies.
SBI says, "Different states have different levels of sero-positivity. Combining this with the population with double doses, the estimated susceptible population for our sample 14 states which includes Maharashtra, Kerala among others, comes to 20.4 crore. There is an urgent need to vaccinate these people immediately. To vaccinate these people, we need around 45-days for the first dose."
According to the report, Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Uttarakhand and Rajasthan have already given double dose of vaccine to a large percentage of population.
"Vaccination in rural areas has increased significantly for certain states including Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh and rural India’s share has also come down in total cases.
However, states like West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra need to pick up momentum of vaccination in rural areas," the report says.
In about 80% of districts, 52% of eligible rural population has received single dose of vaccine as compared to 63% of eligible population in urban areas.
Most of the worst affected rural districts have vaccinated fewer people, SBI says, adding, "In the states where more than 50% of eligible population is vaccinated with a single dose, there the second wave cumulative fatality rate, on an average, is less than 1%."
"Nonetheless, the overall share of rural districts in new cases has declined to 38.7% in July from the peak of 53.6% in May," it added.
New cases in top 15 districts increased again in July 2021 and August 2021, pointing towards the concentration of new infections. "However, it is disturbing to see many rural districts from Kerala are now emerging in the top 15 worst affected districts," SBI points out.
According to the report, various indicators are showing improvement in economic activity in July 2021. The month-on-month (m-o-m) rural recovery in July (as per key leading indicators) is expected to be steady, if not exceptional, as compared with June 2021.
SBI business activity index shows significant improvement in activity since May-end with the latest reading for the week ended 9 August 2021 of 101.6.
It says, recovery is visible in labour participation rate, electricity demand, Google mobility and Apple mobility index. However, there is a slight dip in RTO revenue collection and vegetables’ arrival from last week.
“The rural recovery is far better than the pre-second wave. Looking ahead, agricultural production and rural demand are expected to remain resilient,” the report says.