2 billion jabs: India crosses global Covid milestone

India reported 2 billion cumulative Covid-19 vaccinations on Sunday, going past a global milestone in the ongoing battle against the pandemic. The country has now achieved a record 97 per cent first-dose coverage, while 90 per cent of its adult population has received both doses of the vaccine.

Around 4.90 lakh doses were given on Sunday, taking cumulative vaccinations to 2,00,03,73,288. The country is currently running a special 75-day vaccination drive in which the third, precaution dose is being administered for free at all government vaccinations centres.

Two important features of India’s immunisation coverage — which constitute very significant steps to address vaccine inequity — are, first, 74% of vaccination centres have been set up in rural India and 71% of the vaccination coverage has been reported from rural areas and, second, 51.1% of recipients are women.

“India creates history again! Congrats to all Indians on crossing the special figure of 200 crore vaccine doses. Proud of those who contributed to making India’s vaccination drive unparalleled in scale and speed. This has strengthened the global fight against COVID-19,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a tweet.

“Throughout the rollout of the vaccine, the people of India have shown remarkable faith in science. Our doctors, nurses, frontline workers, scientists, innovators and entrepreneurs have played a key role in ensuring a safer planet. I appreciate their spirit and determination,” Modi said.

India’s vaccination drive — the world’s largest — was rolled out on January 16, 2021, and coverage was progressively expanded in seven phases based on the principle of prioritisation of vulnerable population groups.

Among the priority population, 1 crore healthcare workers have received two doses and 60.21 lakh have received their precaution dose; 1.76 crore frontline workers have received two doses and 1.14 crore have received the precaution dose; 12.15 crore elderly recipients above the age of 60 have got their two doses and 2.81 crores have got the precaution shot as well.

Delhi tops the list of cities that have administered the most double doses with 1.53 crore jabs, followed by Mumbai (97.30 lakh), Bengaluru Urban (93.46 lakh), Pune (83.69 lakh), and the Ahmedabad Corporation area (49.73 lakh).

On January 3 this year, India also started administering Covid-19 vaccines to children: 5.01 crore teens in the age group 15-18 years, and 2.62 crore adolescents ages 12-14 are now fully vaccinated. The drugs regulator has approved vaccines for children younger than 12 as well; however, the expert body of the government is yet to take a decision on rolling out jabs for this age group.

The list of states that have administered the most doses (cumulative) to children is headed by Uttar Pradesh (1.94 crore), followed by Bihar (63.42 lakh), West Bengal (48.39 lakh), Madhya Pradesh (46.24 lakh), and Gujarat (43.49 lakh).

The precautionary dose is currently being administered only to adults, and has been given predominantly in the large metros. The cities that have administered the most precaution doses are Delhi (19.34 lakh), Mumbai (10.33 lakh), Bengaluru Urban (9.30 lakh), Kolkata (7.40 lakh), and Pune (7.08 lakh).

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The vaccination drive has made use of the strong child immunisation infrastructure that was already in place in the country. Some 2.6 lakh vaccinators and 4.7 lakh vaccination team members were involved in the drive, and a record 213.51 crore syringes were mobilised.

The drive witnessed augmentation of the existing cold chain for storage and transportation of vaccines: an additional 13,626 ice line refrigerators and 12,461 deep freezers were made available.

“Greater Goals, Bigger Victories! Overcoming all the odds, India under PM @NarendraModi Ji’s leadership has achieved the new milestone of #200CroreVaccinations. A moment to remember forever! The world’s largest vaccination drive has been consistently creating new records,” Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said in a tweet.

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