According to an analysis by researchers from the State Bank of India (SBI), rural areas in the hill state accounted for 61.1% of cases compared to 38.9% in urban areas. The percentage share of rural areas in the state in the total doses of Covid vaccines administered in January is 85.9%, which is above the all-India average of 83.2%, while that it is 14.1% in urban areas.
The share of vaccination in rural areas was lower in Haryana where 57% of the total beneficiaries vaccinated during this period resided in rural areas and 43% in urban areas. The infection rate in rural areas was 27.2% while 72.8% of new cases were reported in urban areas.
Even though a large number of states have already vaccinated over 70% of their eligible population with mandatory double doses, Punjab is still catching up. So far, the state has managed to fully immunize only 45 percent of its eligible population.
In Punjab, 74% of eligible people residing in rural areas were partially vaccinated while only 40% were bitten twice. In urban areas, the state provided the first dose at least 95% and both doses at 53%. Unlike the situation in Punjab, the neighboring state of Haryana immunized 134% of the population with the first dose and completely immunized 98% in urban areas while 104% were inoculated with the first dose and 73% with two doses in rural areas. In Chandigarh, the joint capital of Punjab and Haryana, 105% of the eligible population received the first dose and 80% received both doses.
Experts have recommended that the state increase the pace of vaccination so that the excluded vulnerable population can be covered at the earliest.