The largest city in the state of Odisha in eastern India reached a milestone over the weekend: Officials said the city had fully inoculated its entire eligible population.
It was a significant accomplishment for Bhubaneswar, a city of over 1.1 million that experienced a deadly wave of coronavirus infections earlier this year that overwhelmed its health care system and left many people unable to be hospitalized.
Ansuman Rath, a top official in Bhubaneswar, said on Monday that all adults — about 900,000 people — had received the first of the two required shots by mid-June, a milestone that had “pushed up our morale.”
“When we achieved that, we thought we must quickly give the second doses too, as case load was high at that time,” Mr. Rath said.
He said local authorities campaigned in the city’s slums to overcome vaccine hesitancy, and set up a dozen walk-in centers across the city so people without access to mobile phones or the internet — and in some cases, without proper identification — could get vaccinated with the assistance of officials.
The vaccination drive began in January in Bhubaneswar but got off to a slow start because the Covishield vaccine, a locally manufactured version of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, was in short supply. Instead, the local administration relied mainly on another Indian-made vaccine, Covaxin.
When one of the world’s most devastating outbreaks swept through India in the spring, Bhubaneswar was hit hard, recording more than 1,200 new cases and 30 to 40 deaths a day during March and April. The city is now reporting fewer than 200 new cases and 10 deaths a day.
India reported 30,549 new cases on Tuesday, and the daily positivity rate has remained below 5 percent.
Delhi, which faced one of the worst outbreaks of the virus in the spring but has since reopened crowded market places, reported zero deaths on Monday. The southern state of Kerala has been seeing a steady rise in new cases past week, accounting for nearly half of India’s new cases.
According to a New York Times tracker, cases have decreased by 5 percent from the average two weeks ago and deaths have decreased by 8 percent. According to the Indian government’s database, more than 27 percent of India’s population of 1.4 billion people have received at least one dose of vaccine, and 7.4 percent have been fully vaccinated.