COVID-19 vaccinations cross 1 billion in India; 21% fully vaccinated
India's COVID-19 vaccinations crossed the 100 crore mark Thursday morning. The nation achieved the milestone in 278 days since the nationwide vaccination drive commenced on January 16. On Wednesday alone, over 44 lakh doses were administered across India, according to the CoWIN database. The development comes as India aims to vaccinate all its adult population by the end of 2021.
Why does this story matter?
India has been looking to ramp up COVID-19 vaccinations as the nation has already seen two disastrous waves of the viral outbreak. Thus far, 21% of the total population has been fully vaccinated and inoculations for children are yet to begin. Backed by experts' projections, the government has warned that COVID-19 cases could surge with laxity in safety protocol around the ongoing festive season.
Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya celebrates achievement
Government expert calls for consistency in vaccinations
Dr. VK Paul, chief of India's COVID-19 Task Force, congratulated the public and healthcare workers for the achievement. He called for consistency, highlighting that 25% of eligible adults remain unvaccinated. Among the eligible adult population, 74% have received at least one dose, while 31% have been fully vaccinated. "Efforts must go forward to vaccinate those who haven't taken the first dose," Dr. Paul said.
Events planned to celebrate milestone
To mark this "historic" achievement, Mandaviya will launch a song by singer Kailash Kher and an audio-visual film at the Red Fort on Thursday. The largest national flag, weighing around 1,400 kg, will also be hoisted at Delhi's Red Fort. Villages that have achieved 100% vaccination will also put up posters and banners in the honor of healthcare workers.
Railways to announce achievement on trains, stations
The Indian Railways had decided to make a public announcement on trains and stations about the 100 crore vaccination milestone. A message circulated in zonal railways said the milestone was likely to be reached between 10 am and 12:30 pm on October 21. The message further said, "The announcement may be initiated only after reaching the milestone of 100 crore vaccination."
Will India be able to vaccinate everyone by 2021-end?
The achievement of 100 crore doses in 278 days implies that India administered a daily average of 3.6 million doses. To meet the government's goal of vaccinating all adults by 2021-end, India will have to administer 10 million doses daily, experts say. However, this number has only been achieved on six days so far. Thus, the target currently looks like a tall order.