NEW DELHI—India’s Covid-19 vaccinations have run into early problems as fewer people than anticipated have been showing up for their shots, putting the country far behind the pace it needs to hit its target of inoculating 300 million by August.
The lower-than-expected turnout appears to be due to both technical problems with the app that notifies people when it is their turn for a shot and fears over the safety of vaccines that were developed and approved on an accelerated timetable.
The country had given around 1.5 million people their first shots as of Saturday, a week after launching the effort. That is an average of about 200,000 a day. It would need to administer 1.3 million a day to reach its August target.
India has more government vaccination-drive experience and manufacturing capacity than most countries, and it had cautioned that the campaign would start slowly. But in the first week, more than 40% fewer people showed up for shots than had been anticipated.
Government officials say they are still working out the bottlenecks, but the low early turnout among health-care workers—the first to be offered the vaccine—suggests a much longer timeline than expected to protect the population through vaccinations.