India’s COVID-19 vaccination programme has been continuing at a breakneck pace. It has so far completed the inoculation of a staggering 64 crore people, including more than 14 crore people who have received both their doses of vaccines. Last week, India administered a record one crore vaccine doses, the highest single-day tally achieved since the rollout of the COVID-19 immunisation drive on January 16.
According to the CoWIN dashboard, India on Friday, i.e August 27, jabbed as many as 1,08,99,699 doses of COVID-19 vaccines. Two days before the record single-day vaccination, India had crossed an important milestone of vaccinating over 60 crore people. Significantly, the last 10 crore of vaccine doses—from 50 crores to 60 crores—were achieved in just 19 days, the lowest number of days since the start of the pandemic to surpass the 10-crore vaccine doses milestone.
On the occasion, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya informed that India took 85 days for administering the first 10 crore vaccines, 45 to touch the 20 crore mark, 29 days to reach 30 crores, 24 days to reach 40 crores and 20 days to touch the 50-crore mark. It took only 19 days to reach the 60 crore mark. The reducing number of days to achieve the 10-crore vaccine dose milestone demonstrates that India’s inoculation drive is on the right path to vaccinate its gargantuan population and suppress the subsequent waves of coronavirus outbreak.
The spectacular numbers of vaccinations completed in India belie the doomsday scenario painted by the western media outlets, who in their hubris and arrogance, had poured scorn over India’s inoculation drive and foreboded that the country would struggle and flounder in its endeavour to completely vaccinate its population against the menace of COVID-19.
In December 2020, when Central government led by PM Narendra Modi had announced that as many as 60 crore vaccine doses would be administered in next 7-8 months (till August 2021 since vaccination drive began in January 2021 for frontline workers), the western media was particularly quick to dismiss the ambitious plans.
Foreign media outlets stoke scepticism over India’s vaccination drive
As India launched its ambitious coronavirus vaccination campaign on January 16, 2021, western media outlets were replete with articles that were prejudiced against India and cast doubt over its ability to successfully accomplish the objective of vaccinating its population against COVID-19. India’s outsize population, availability of vaccines, their efficacy, and requisite infrastructure needed to ensure vaccine reaches remote and inaccessible locations in the country were some of the factors that the western media focused on to condescendingly declare that it will be an uphill task for India to continue its vaccination programme without hitting snags.
The New York Times, which has a knack for publishing patronising articles on India and is known for its anti-Hindu prejudice, published a bevvy of expressing scepticism over India’s COVID-19 vaccine drive. In fact, the articles on its websites routinely belittled India’s progress on the COVID front and sowed doubts over the authenticity of data trickling out of the country. India had extended the emergency use approval(EuA) to two vaccines—Covishield and Covaxin. But, western media outlets ran a sinister campaign to undermine India’s COVID-19 vaccination drive and raise questions over the efficacy of the two vaccines.
Here’s how another prominent western media outlet ‘The Washington Post’ indulged in smear campaign against India’s vaccination efforts:-
As India was pummelled by a devastating second wave of coronavirus outbreak, the western media outlets had a field time in not only exploiting the tragedy that befell the country but also in fuelling suspicions about the success of the nation’s vaccination programme. With the country firmly in the grips of the second wave, powered by the more transmissible Delta variant, the western media resorted to monetizing and promoting the human catastrophe caused due to the Wuhan Coronavirus infection. With an intention to draw more eyeballs and glamorise Covid deaths in the country, publications such as the Washington Post and Deutsche Welle (DW) News largely relied on traumatising pictures of corpses, and burning funeral pyres.
India emerged from the second wave fairly quickly and suppressed its ominous spread. In opposition to the predictions made by the western media outlets, the resurgent coronavirus outbreak did little to derail India’s vaccination programme. As evident from the numbers released by the Health Minister, the subsequent milestone of 10-crore vaccine doses took less time than the previous one, indicating that India’s vaccination drive was impervious to the second wave of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Myriad articles were published in various publications, declaring that India’s coronavirus vaccination drive is foundering just when the country was in the throes of a catastrophic bout of coronavirus outbreak. The second wave of the COVID-19 outbreak provided enough fodder for the western media outlets to use it to discredit and run down the country’s vaccination drive.
Back in 2020, when India announced that it planned to vaccinate 300 million or 30 crore people in the first phase of its vaccination drive, CNN could not hide its condescension for India’s ambitious inoculation campaign. It snootily remarked that vaccinating 300 million people against COVID-19 would be equivalent to almost the size of the US population. In less than 8 months since the start of India’s vaccination campaign, the country has already vaccinated more than 64 crore people, which is roughly close to twice the size of the US population.
CNN, while speaking about vaccination programme, where India had plans to fully vaccinate 30 crore people, the media outlet had cast doubts about India’s capabilities to administer a total of 60 crore (600 million) doses by August. As August 2021 comes to an end, India has not only inoculated at least 60 crore people with one dose, but over 14 crore people have been fully vaccinated.
Western media’s stoic silence over galloping coronavirus recrudscence in the US
While the western media outlets went into overdrive to write off India’s vaccination campaign and predict its failure, they have surprisingly remained muted to the devastation wreaked by the resurgent coronavirus outbreak in western countries such as the United States, the UK and Israel. The infection, which is powered by the new Delta variant has proven to be resilient against the vaccines and there have been numerous cases where fully vaccinated people have fallen ill to the coronavirus. But this has been highlighted enough in the western media as they have shifted their focus on the crisis unfolding in Afghanistan.
As coronavirus sweeps the United States, with more than 1.5 lakh cases being reported on a daily basis, the western media outlets such as the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, and others have busied themselves in defending Joe Biden’s disastrous decision of hasty pullout from Afghanistan. It has been reported that the hospitalisations across the United States have seen an unprecedented rise, but the western media outlets, which had a morbid fascination with displaying dead bodies and funeral pyres in India, have not been keen on reporting the hospital pictures or graveyard scenario in the United States.
Instead, the foreign press is involved in defending the untenable: justifying the Biden administration’s decision of drawdown from Afghanistan and rationalising the violence, uncertainty and humanitarian crisis that swept the country in the wake of an ill-conceived withdrawal.