India on Monday this week registered the highest one-day vaccination, with more than 90 lakh people administered with a dose of COVID-19 vaccines. Data on the government portal CoWin showed a total of 90,86,514 vaccine shots were given on Monday, that is, on 21 June 2021, the first day of the new vaccine regime.
A day later, on June 22, 54 lakh doses were administered across the country. The CoWin platform said 54,22,891 doses were given on Tuesday. Even though the number fell from the previous day, the 54 lakh vaccination was still much higher compared to daily vaccinations in previous days, which was hovering around 30-35 lakh for several days. But the Congress party decided to attack the Modi government on this issue also.
With the dearth of a credible issue to corner the central government, the compulsive contrarians within the Congress grasped at the straw and started criticising the Modi government over the fall in single-day vaccination from 90 lakhs to 54 lakhs. The party leaders claimed that the record vaccination on Monday was a PR exercise, and it won’t be sustained. However, all the allegations by the Congress party have proved to be baseless as numbers show that India has been able to momentum in the vaccination drive, with numbers on Wednesday surpassing the Tuesday numbers with a huge margin.
Congress leaders denigrate India’s vaccination campaign
Former finance minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram, who is perhaps still smarting his incarceration in the INX Media case, took a swipe at the Centre over drop in single-day vaccination figures after record spike.
Chidambaram took to Twitter to lay out what he claimed the “secret” behind the world record vaccination on a single day.
“Hoard on Sunday, vaccinate on Monday, and go back to limping on Tuesday. That is the secret behind the world ‘record’ of vaccinations on a ‘single day’. I am sure the ‘feat’ will find a place in the Guinness book of records!,” P Chidambaram tweeted.
Who knows, there may be a Nobel Prize for Medicine awarded to the Modi government— P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) June 22, 2021
‘Modi Hai, Mumkin Hai’ must now read ‘Modi Hai, Miracle Hai’
Taking a dig at the Modi government, Chidambaram in his subsequent tweet said that the centre might get a Nobel Prize for medicine. He further said “Modi Hai, Mumkin Hai” must now read “Modi Hai, Miracle Hai”.
Much like his father, Karti Chidamabaram also criticised the vaccination drive, accusing the government of treating it as an “Event Management”.
Everything is nothing but “Event Management” https://t.co/vg6bAVvHWV— Karti P Chidambaram (@KartiPC) June 23, 2021
Senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh also to seemed to have stung so hard by the Centre’s record vaccination on June 21 that he posted a tweet saying that vaccination should not be a single-day fixture. He alleged that June 21 vaccination was a pre-planned, image boosting exercise.
Vaccination cannot be seen like a one-day fixture. Clearly, yesterday was a pre-planned, image-booster. Today we have not sustained that level. We simply have to sustain at least 80 lakhs a day for the next four-five months.— Jairam Ramesh (@Jairam_Ramesh) June 22, 2021
Later, Ramesh tweeted vaccination trends from Madhya Pradesh for three days starting from June 20. “Madhya Pradesh vaccination trend last 3 days: 20th June: 692; 21st June: 16.93 lakhs; 22nd June: 4842. Who are we trying to fool?” Ramesh tweeted.
With his tweet, Ramesh was hitting out at the Shivraj Singh Chauhan government in Madhya Pradesh, accusing them of orchestrating a vaccination campaign to boost the central government’s image on the day it took over the country’s inoculation drive.
However, a report published in Patrika said the drop of vaccination numbers on Tuesday could be attributed to the state government’s announcement that it would not carry out vaccinations that day since it was reserved for child immunisation.
Madhya Pradesh Medical Education Minister Vishwas Sarang rubbished Jairam Ramesh’s insinuations, adding that the CoWin data for Tuesday accounted only for shots given by private hospitals.
Earlier yesterday, even Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala appeared unimpressed with the feat of vaccinating a record 90 lakh people in a single. In a bid to belittle the country’s vaccination drive, Surjewala harked back to the UPA-II rule, claiming that the country had inoculated 17 crore people in a single day with pulse polio vaccination.
However, it is a different thing that Randeep Surjewala was comparing apples with oranges when he equating polio vaccination with COVID-19 vaccination. The made in India vaccines were developed in December 2020 and within six months, more than 28 crore people have been vaccinated with at least one dose of either of the two vaccines developed locally.
By contrast, it took decades for India to completely eradicate polio. The vaccination of polio was introduced in the United States in 1960 and it took another 19 years for its introduction in India.
Furthermore, for years India imported Polio vaccines from abroad since its IPV was not licenced for manufacturing in India till 2006. The polio vaccination was started in 1979 and India was polio-free only in 2012. It took more than 32 years for India to be polio-free.
Resumption of control by the centre reinvigorates the country’s languishing vaccination drive
While Chidambaram, Ramesh and other Congress leaders cite the drop in the number of vaccines administered on Tuesday to accuse the government of orchestrating a record-high vaccination day, it is worth noting that ever since the central government has resumed the nation’s vaccination drive, the number of shots administered on a daily basis have shot up dramatically.
From June 21, the day when the centre took control of the country’s vaccination campaign for people in the age group 18-44, the number of vaccine doses administered has consistently crossed the 50 lakh mark. On Wednesday, i.e June 23, more than 64 lakh doses have been administered, with the number continue to rise as thousands of vaccination centres across the country continue to update the latest data. At the time of writing this article, the CoWin portal showed 64,45,599 doses of vaccines administered on Wednesday.
India has achieved almost 2.10 crore vaccination the last three days, which means average vaccination per day is 70 lakh after the central govt took over the responsibility from the states.
To put things into perspective, India’s vaccination drive was languishing at around 30-32 lakhs per day until 20 June. From the last three days, India has consistently vaccinated more than 54 lakh people on a daily basis, which is approximately 80 per cent higher than the 30-32 lakh levels. Clearly, the taking over of the vaccination process by the central government has revitalised the country’s flagging inoculation drive.
Vaccinating more than 50 lakhs people per day is equivalent to inoculating the entire population of New Zealand in a single day. And India has been vaccinating over 54 lakh people for the last three days. New Zealand, on the other hand, has so far administered only 10 lakh doses of COVID-19 vaccine so far. And to imagine, there were some “intellectuals” who wished to have New Zealand’s prime minister to head India’s vaccination drive.
Administering over 50 lakh doses every day is no mean feat. But for the Congress leaders, who are perennially consumed with hatred for PM Modi, such an achievement is not worth celebrating. Instead, they are nitpicking over dips in the vaccination drive, which will inevitably happen considering the vast demography of the country along with the scarcity of vaccines.
Congress leaders promoted vaccine hesitancy and raised questions on the efficacy of the indigenously made vaccines
While they diss the central government over the country’s daily vaccination numbers, it is worth noting that Congress-ruled states and Congress leaders have played a significant role in undermining the country’s vaccination drive.
Several senior Congress leaders such as Shashi Tharoor, Jairam Ramesh, Manish Tewari and others actively raised questions on the government’s decision to approve emergency use of indigenously made vaccines. The Congress party has been so brazenly promoting vaccine hesitancy and engendering fear among people about the ingredients used in the vaccine that Congress leader Gaurav Pandhi recently shared misinformation about Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin and fuelled apprehensions about the vaccine.
Rahul Gandhi is also responsible for the hiccups in the country’s vaccination drive. Initially, the Gandhi scion had asked the Centre to decentralise the vaccination policy and provide the state governments with a greater say in procuring vaccines. The Centre promptly obliged and allowed the states to issue tenders individually to meet their vaccine requirements. However, shortly later, the states realised that the decision yielded no significant results as they could not procure enough doses and foreign pharma companies refused to deal with individual states. Deflated by the rejection, the states approached the Centre asking them to once again assume the control of the country’s vaccination.
Congress state governments undermined the country’s vaccination drive
The Congress government in different states also worked towards undermining the vaccination drive. Punjab Congress administration was accused of indulging in blatant profiteering by earning Rs 660 per dosage by selling government-procured vaccinations to private clinics in the state under the guise of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
According to reports, the Punjab government supplied at least 20,000 vials of Covaxin to private hospitals throughout the state under the guise of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) at a cost of Rs.1,060 per dosage. It was sold from a batch of one lakh vials procured by the govt at the rate of Rs 400 per dose, the rate fixed by Bharat Biotech for state governments. The decision was reverted after the Punjab government faced a huge backlash for profiteering over COVID-19 vaccines.
In May 2021, Rajasthan reported the highest percentage of Covid-19 vaccine wastage. According to a report by Hindi daily Patrika, a total of 11.5 lakh doses of Covid-19 vaccine, which amounts to almost 7 per cent, has been wasted in the Congress-ruled state.
Though many districts in Rajasthan had wasted several doses of vaccines, the wastage rate recorded in Rajasthan’s Churu district stood the highest at 39.7 per cent, followed by Hanumangarh, where the waste per cent was recorded to be 24.60 per cent. Bharatpur stood at number three after it reported 17.13 per cent. Kota finished fourth with a 16.71 per cent of waste rate.
Furthermore, Jharkhand topped the list of states with the highest waste of the COVID-19 vaccine. Jharkhand is ruled by the JMM-Congress alliance. According to the data released by the government, Jharkhand wasted a staggering 37.3 per cent of vaccines. Jharkhand was followed by Chhattisgarh, another Congress-ruled state, which recorded vaccine wastage of 30.2 per cent, much higher than the national average of 6.3 per cent.