India needs to step up its vaccination strategy to reduce the number of deaths in the third covid wave as the intensity of the third wave will be as severe as the ongoing second wave, according to an SBI research report ‘Ecowrap’.

The report points out that the average duration of the third wave for top countries is 98 days and that of the second wave is 108 days.

It further says if India will be better prepared for the anticipated third wave, the decline in the serious case rate will lead to fewer deaths.

“We find out that if serious cases decline from 20% to 5% (due to better health infrastructure and rigorous vaccination) in the third wave, then the number of deaths in the third wave could significantly reduce to 40,000 as compared to current deaths of more than 1.7 lakh,” the report said.

Soumya Kanti Ghosh, the group chief economic adviser at the State Bank of India, also notes that vaccination should be the key priority especially for the children who could be the next vulnerable group.

“With around 15-17 crore children in the 12-18 age bracket, India should go for an advanced procurement strategy like that adopted by developed nations to inoculate this age group,” he said

SBI report also revised its real GDP projection for FY22 to 7.9% from 10.4% earlier. “We impart an upward bias to this number with the fervent hope of 1 crore vaccinations per day beginning mid-July as per Government projections,” the report states.

“However, our analysis shows a disproportionately larger impact on economy this time and given that rural is not as resilient as urban, the pick up in pent-up demand is unlikely to make a large difference in FY22 GDP estimates, and hence it could only be a modest pick up,” the report added.

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