7.78 crore beneficiaries fully vaccinated for Covid till July 15: Govt

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New Delhi, Jul 20 (PTI) A total of 7.78 crore beneficiaries have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19 as on July 15 against an estimated target of 94 crore eligible people, Rajya Sabha was informed on Tuesday.

Similarly, 31.35 crore beneficiaries have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, Minister of State for Health Bharati Pravin Pawar said in a written reply. The projected availability of vaccines from August 1 to December 31 is 135 crore doses, she said. In response to a question on the action taken by the government to meet the growing gap between the actual and targeted vaccinations and the availability of vaccines for next six months, she said, 'There is no significant gap between the actual and targeted vaccinations and the average daily vaccinations have shown significant increase over the previous months.' To sustain the increased pace of vaccination, the government is providing advance visibility of vaccine availability at least 15 days in advance to states and union territories with an advice to prepare and widely publicise advance district-wise and vaccination centre-wise plan for accelerating the coverage of inoculation, Pawar said.

Further, a communication strategy is in place which is being implemented across all states and union territories with a focus to sustain vaccine confidence. Accessibility of vaccination is also being improved through involving private vaccination centres, workplace vaccination centres and 'near to home' inoculation centres, the minister said. In a separate question on when the government aims to have the entire country vaccinated, Pawar said COVID-19 vaccination is an ongoing and dynamic process, which is being guided by National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC) on the basis of concurrent scientific evidence. 'In view of the dynamic and evolving nature of COVID-19 pandemic, no fixed timeline at present can be indicated for the completion of vaccination drive, however, it is expected that all beneficiaries aged 18 years and above will be vaccinated by December 2021,' the reply stated.

As on July 16, a total of 10.91 crore doses have been administered free of cost to the beneficiaries in the age group of 18-44 years at government vaccination centres. PTI PLB ZMN

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