As the fear of a possible third wave of Covid-19 looms large, India is gearing up its vaccination drive. The country has administered more than 75 crore Covid vaccines since the start of the year, as Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya confirmed. According to the current rate, nearly 43% of the population will be vaccinated by the end of this year.
Minister Mandavia linked the fulfilment of 75 crore doses to India’s celebration of 75 years of independence. “Congratulations India! With PM Narendra Modi’s ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas‘ mantra, the world’s biggest vaccination campaign has been relentlessly creating new dimensions. #AzadiKaAmritMahotsav, in the 75th year of Independence, the country has crossed 75 crore doses of vaccination,” Mr Mandaviya tweeted in Hindi.
In order to avoid a third wave of the pandemic, experts suggest that the Indian vaccination drive needs to at least cover nearly 60% of the citizens with both the jabs of the vaccine by the end of 2021. This goal mandates a rate of 12 million vaccine jabs per day. However, the Indian govt had earlier declared a more ambitious target of administering 200 crore doses by December.
The rate of vaccination fulfilled by India over the past week was 7.7 million doses per day. Consequently, a shortfall of 4.3 million doses exists at the current rate. On September 12, India delivered 5.3 million vaccine doses, thus leading to a deficit of 6.7 million.
Meanwhile, the vaccination drive in certain Indian states is in full swing. According to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, three states and three Union Territories have successfully vaccinated 100% of its eligible population with at least the first dose. The states include Himachal Pradesh, Goa and Sikkim. The Union Territories are Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu. The adult population of Ladakh and Lakshadweep have also been vaccinated with the first jab.
Acknowledging India’s good vaccination pace, WHO congratulated the country for rapidly scaling up its vaccination drive. “While it took 85 days to administer the first 100 million doses, India reached 750 million from 650 million in just 13 days”, Dr. Poonam Khetrapal Singh tweeted, congratulating the country for its efforts.