New Delhi: The COVID-19 vaccination should be treated as a macro-economic indicator since it is not merely a health response but is critical for opening up the economy, according to the Economic Survey 2021-22.

The country crossed the milestone of administrating more than 156 crore doses of vaccines on January 16, 2022.

More than 88 crore people (93 per cent of the adult population) have received at least one dose and around 66 crore people (70 per cent of the adult population) stands fully vaccinated, the Survey pointed out.

Besides, more than 50 per cent of the country’s population in the 15-18 age group has received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine as of January 19, 2022, it added.

Vaccination access and pricing have been deregulated to quicken the pace of vaccination across states and all age groups, it stated.

“Vaccination is not merely a health response but is critical for opening up the economy, particularly contact-intensive services. Therefore, it should be treated for now as a macro-economic indicator,” the Survey, tabled in Parliament on Monday, noted.

The vaccination process for boosters and for the 15-18 year age group is also gathering pace, the Economic Survey 2021-22 stated.

“With vaccination drive further extended to the age group of 15-18 years starting January 3, 2022, more than 50 per cent of India’s population in this age group have received their first dose of the vaccine as on January 19,” it said.

The vaccination process for the age group began on January 3, 2022.

The Survey pointed out that 99 per cent of the registered health care workers and 100 per cent of the front-line workers, 87 per cent of the population aged between 18- 44 years, 95 per cent of the population aged between 45-60 years and 89 per cent of the population above 60 years have been covered under the first dose.

Vaccination drive continues to gather speed and breadth with the number of days taken to achieve an additional 10 crore doses reducing significantly from 86 days during the initial phase to 15 days now, as per the Survey.

The average daily vaccination rate has increased four-fold from 19.3 lakh in May 2021 to 75.4 lakh as of January 16, 2021.

As of January 16, 2022, eligible population (18 year and above) vaccinated in India with first dose was 93 per cent and with second dose 69.8 per cent.

“The COVID-19 vaccination has played a critical role in minimising loss of lives and boosting confidence in the economy towards resumption of activity and containing the sequential decline in output due to second wave,” it noted.

The country commenced the vaccination process on January 16, 2021, with an ambitious target to inoculate its entire eligible population by December 2021, with at least the first dose.

In the first phase, the vaccination drive was sequentially expanded to cover health care workers and front line workers.

The second phase started on March 1 (for above 60 years) and April 1, 2021 (from 45-59 years) making all persons aged 45 years and above eligible for vaccination.

This cohort had accounted for more than 80 per cent of the COVID-19 mortality in the country, the survey noted.

The third phase began on May 1 2021 to vaccinate people in the age group of 18-45 years. From January 3, 2022, the vaccination drive has been further extended to include those in the age group of 15-18 years.

Taking cognisance of the recent global surge of the Omicron variant, booster doses to healthcare and frontline workers as well as senior citizens above 60 years of age with co-morbidities have been allowed by the government from January 10, 2022.

It is also essential to look at progress in vaccination as this is not just a health response but also a buffer against economic disruptions caused by repeated waves of the pandemic.

Private consumption is poised to see stronger recovery with rapid coverage in vaccination and faster normalisation of economic activity.

FM tables Economic Survey 2021-22 in Lok Sabha

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