India crossed a major milestone on Thursday when the number of coronavirus disease Covid 19 vaccine doses administered in the country crossed the 100 crore (1 billion) mark. The milestone was achieved half an hour after 10am.
The number is twice the number of vaccines administered in the United States, five times that of Japan, nine times that of Germany and 10 times the number of vaccine doses administered in France, the government said in a presentation hailing the ‘vaccine century’.
It said that 75 per cent of eligible population has taken the first dose and eight states and union territories (UTs) – Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu, Goa and Lakhshadweep – have achieved 100 per cent first dose coverage. It also said that four states and UTs have more than 90 per cent coverage of the first dose.
After the billionth dose was administered, the Centre recounted the journey to 100 crore Covid 19 vaccine doses in the presentation, which listed the milestones crossed by the nationwide vaccination programme since its launch on January 16, 2021. It said that CoWIN – the digital platform being used for keeping records of vaccination – has so far registered 76 crore beneficiaries. It also said that India used drones for the first time to deliver vaccines to remote corners of the country.
A mammoth achievement by all accounts, it took India 279 days to go from inoculating the very first health worker to covering crores of people across the states with a billion-plus doses.
The inoculation programme has been speeding up since its launch, recording 25 million vaccinations in a day on September 17 (Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s birthday), which translated to 15.62 lakh doses per hour, or 26,000 doses per minute or 434 doses every second.
Other achievements include introduction of two made in India vaccines – Covishield and Covaxin – within 11 months of the discovery of the first case in the country and fastest ever approvals granted for the vaccines.
Only China has administered a billion doses of Covid-19 vaccines till now (and also has a population of more than one billion). It crossed the milestone in June.