Health Ministry clarifies incorrect media reports on vaccine numbers

The Union Health Ministry on Wednesday termed certain media reports regarding the number of vaccine doses acquired and administered in the country as “factually incorrect and without any basis”.

“There have been several unfounded media reports that have peddled misinformation among the masses regarding this exercise of national importance,” a ministry statement said, adding that the total number of Covid vaccine doses administered in the country so far stand at 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,” it said, adding that as per the data at 7 am, on June 1, between May 1-31, a total of 61.06 million doses have been administered by states/UTs.

A total of 16.22 million balance and unutilised doses were available with states/UTs. The total vaccines shots available from May 1-31 were 79.45 million, it said.

“Some media reports have criticized India’s vaccination policy based on unverified quotes. These reports questioning the prioritisation of population segments are not supported by full information on the matter,” the statement said.

The ministry said the primary objectives of the vaccination is to protect the healthcare workers from the Covid pandemic, prevent deaths and protect individuals at the highest risk and vulnerability of mortality due to the disease.

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 statement 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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