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COVID-19 Vaccination Coverage: India Close To Achieving The Landmark 1 Billion Jabs

According to Union Health Minister, Covid vaccination coverage in India has exceeded 99 crore on October 19

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COVID-19 Vaccination Coverage: India Close To Achieving The Landmark 1 Billion Jabs
Highlights
  • Administering 1 billion doses is a big achievement: Dr Guleria
  • So far, India has been able to administer over 99.04 crore doses
  • Government is aiming to fully vaccinate the adult population by year-end

New Delhi: Within days of surpassing the landmark 90-crore vaccinations, India is set to achieve another milestone of administering one billionth (100-crore) doses of COVID-19 vaccine. The country’s cumulative vaccine coverage has increased to over 99.06 crore doses on Tuesday (October 19) by administering over 40 lakh doses in one day. The aim of the Government of India is to fully vaccinate the country’s entire adult population by December this year.

Also Read: Decision On Vaccination Of Children To Be Based On Scientific Rationale: Dr V K Paul

Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya took to Twitter and said,

We are at 99 crores. Go for it India, continue to rapidly march towards our milestone of 100 crore #COVID19 vaccinations.

Mr Mandaviya also said that he had an interaction with WHO Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on various issues related to health and the latter lauded the “mammoth efforts” undertaken by the Indian government for vaccination against COVID-19. Mr Mandaviya said in a tweet,

Had a detailed interaction with DG WHO @DrTedros, accompanied by other senior officials of @WHO, on various issues related to health, including pandemic management and WHO reforms. DG WHO lauded the mammoth efforts undertaken by the Indian government for #COVID19 vaccination.

While talking to NDTV about the country’s Covid vaccination drive inching towards the 100-crore mark, Dr Randeep Guleria, Director, AIIMS said,

It is a huge achievement, and every Indian should be proud. We should dedicate this to those who have come out and vaccinated the huge number. Our vaccinators, whether in rural or urban India, they have taken it on their shoulders that they will vaccinate one billion people.

Also Read: Mix-and-match Vaccines Highly Effective Against COVID-19: Lancet Study

He emphasised on acknowledging the country’s ability to manufacture its own vaccine and not relying on other countries. He also hailed the planning and the efforts of people involved in conducting the Covid vaccination drive in the country. He said,

The planning has been remarkable too when it comes to Covid vaccination. It has taken huge efforts by a large number of people from the scientists to the policymakers, to the bureaucrats and the entire group which is involved to roll out a vaccine strategy for a country as large as India. When we talk about one billion doses, we also must remember that we made over one billion syringes to administer those doses. We must also know that huge manpower was involved in administering those jabs across the country and in monitoring any adverse effects which may have happened. All this prove that we have the resilience and the technology to do such a thing.

On the challenges that still need to be addressed in order to vaccinate the entire adult population of the country, Dr Guleria highlighted that vaccine hesitancy, complacency, access of vaccines to the most vulnerable and high-risk population and the issue of availability, distribution and transportation of doses are there. He said,

In any vaccination programme of such a huge magnitude as ours, there will always be a supply issue in certain areas. This is something that will smoothen out over a period of time. For example, Covaxin is a vaccine being manufactured indigenously. The manufacturers earlier had a smaller plant, now they have a much larger manufacturing plant. So, the production has increased. It is not like manufacturing any other product. Vaccines have to go through a lot of testing and validation. We have a large number of challenges that need to be addressed in order to vaccinate the whole population including vaccine hesitancy and complacency and getting the right doses to those who are unable to come to the vaccine centres.

He warned that as the daily infection numbers are down, people are becoming complacent, but the risk is still there. He said that getting fully vaccinated and following COVID appropriate behaviour are the only ways to protect oneself from the infection.

According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), while the nation is close to administering a billion doses, a sizeable number of beneficiaries who are eligible have not received their second dose. As per the data from MoHFW, around 74.45 per cent of India’s eligible adult population has been administered at least one dose of the Covid vaccine and around 30.63 per cent have received both doses. The ministry has urged the States and Union Territories to focus on the second vaccination doses.

India’s COVID-19 Vaccine Journey

The nationwide Covid vaccination drive in India commenced on January 16 this year with healthcare workers receiving the first round of doses. From February 2, front line workers were made eligible for vaccination. These included State and Central Police personnel, Armed Force Personnel, Home Guards, Civil Defence & Disaster Management Volunteers, Municipal workers, Prison Staff, PRI Staff & Revenue workers involved in containment and surveillance, Railway Protection Force and election Staff. This was expanded from March 1 to include persons above 60 years of age and those above 45 years with associated specified 20 comorbidities. This was further expanded to all people above 45 years of age from April 1. From May 1 all persons above 18 years of age were made eligible for COVID-19 vaccination. In over 270 days, the country is achieving the 100-crore milestone.

Also Read: Covid Vaccine Boosters Not “Appropriate” At This Stage: Lancet Study

NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ populationindigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity,  that is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.

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