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#1YearOfVaccineDrive: Despite vaccine hesitancy and dirty politics India shined in world’s largest vaccination programme

A year since world's largest vaccination drive began in India.

On January 16, 2021, India started its mass vaccination program to immunize its eligible population against the Covid-19 virus. Today, India completed one year of vaccination drive. The country has administered over 150 crore doses of Covid-19 vaccines. In a tweet thread, Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrote, “Today we mark #1YearOfVaccineDrive. I salute each and every individual who is associated with the vaccination drive. Our vaccination programme has added great strength to the fight against COVID-19. It has led to saving lives and thus protecting livelihoods.”

He further appreciated scientists and innovators who worked tirelessly to develop the vaccines. He said, “When the COVID-19 pandemic first struck, we did not know much about the virus. However, our scientists and innovators immersed themselves in developing vaccines. India feels proud that our nation has been able to contribute to fighting the pandemic through vaccines.”

He also thanked doctors, nurses and healthcare workers for their exceptional contribution to the drive. He said, “At the same time, the role of our doctors, nurses and healthcare workers is exceptional. When we see glimpses of people being vaccinated in remote areas, or our healthcare workers taking the vaccines there, our hearts and minds are filled with pride.”

He added, “India’s approach to fighting the pandemic will always remain science based. We are also augmenting health infrastructure to ensure our fellow citizens get the proper care. Let us keep following all COVID-19 related protocols and overcome the pandemic.”

India faced major challenges during the vaccination drive

Despite the speculations and lack of trust that the left-liberal section of Indian society, as well as international media, showed in India’s capabilities, the Covid-19 vaccination program has been far more successful compared to any developed nation across the globe.

India, which houses the second-largest population in the world, faced a massive challenge to immunize over 86 crore people who were eligible to get the Covid-19 vaccine. Starting with healthcare workers and frontline warriors, India’s vaccination drive had a slow but steady start. There were speculations that India would take years to completely immunize the eligible population. Opposition parties and states demanded more control over purchasing and distributing vaccines in their respective states, making it harder for the union government to manage the vaccination drive.

Centralization of vaccination program

The centre did oblige to the demand and gave states more power, but the states went on back foot quickly and finally, on June 7, 2021, Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the nation and informed that the centre would solely manage the procurement and distribution of the vaccine. From time to time, non-BJP states and opposition parties tried to derail the vaccination program by spreading misinformation and propaganda, but it did not work well. India has now administered doses of the Covid-19 vaccine more than the US, The UK and Europe combined.

As India is now vaccinating children between the ages of 15 and 18 as well, the number of eligible individuals has increased. Also, the government has announced precautionary booster doses for the elderly, healthcare and frontline workers that have increased demand for the Covid-19 vaccine. Despite the challenges and continuous propaganda-driven posts by the likes of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, India is doing extremely well in terms of daily vaccinations.

Overall stats of Covid-19 vaccine in India

According to the data available with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFA), a total of over 1.56 crore (1,56,76,15,454) Covid-19 vaccine doses have been administered in India. Over 87 crore (87,36,48,806 ) people have got at least one shot of Covid-19 vaccine and over 65 crore (65,57,96,458) people are fully vaccinated. Talking about the eligible children, over three crores (3,38,50,912) have got their first dose of the vaccine. Stats show that 43,19,278 people have got their precautionary dose, out of which over five lakhs were administered in the last 24 hours.

Source: MoHFW

Top five states

Uttar Pradesh is leading the tally with over 22 crores (22,97,35,649) of Covid-19 vaccine doses administered in the state. Maharashtra is second in the tally, with over 14 crores (14,31,20,557) doses administered. Madhya Pradesh is on the third spot with over 11 crore doses administered, Bihar at fourth with over 10.73 crore doses administered and West Bengal on fifth with 10.69 crore doses administered.

Source: CoWIN

The 100 crores and 150 crore mark

It took India over nine months to administer 100 crore shots of the Covid-19 vaccine. On October 21, it was reported that India completed the 100 crore Covid-19 shots mark. In those nine months, India saw a lot of challenges, saw numerous hurdles in form of misinformation, anti-vaccination propaganda and more. India learned from the challenges and improved its penetration among the masses and as a result, in less than three months, India achieved another milestone of 150 crore vaccines on January 7 2022. As of now, 92 per cent of the eligible population have received at least one shot of the Covid-19 vaccine and over 70 per cent of the eligible population is fully vaccinated.

Notable milestones

On September 17, 2021, India administered 2.5 crore Covid-19 vaccines in a single day. The number was almost five times the total population of New Zealand. Notably, New Zealand, which is being seen as a pioneer in Covid-19 management, has not been able to fully vaccinate less than 50 lakh of the eligible population in one year.

As per government data, 12 States and UTs have achieved 100 per cent coverage of the first dose. Twenty-six states have administered the first dose to 90 per cent of their eligible population. Seven states and UTs have fully vaccinated 95 per cent of the eligible population.

Compared to 93 per cent of India’s population being administered the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, Canada stands at 84 per cent, Italy at 82 per cent, France at 79 per cent, the US at 75 per cent and Germany at 74 per cent. Here it is notable that at the beginning of the Covid-19 vaccine drive, the United States stopped the export of essential material to India, which was crucial for Covid-19 vaccine manufacturing.

If we talk about the fully vaccinated population, while India has covered 69 per cent of the total eligible population, Saudi Arabia stands at 66 per cent, the United States and Hong Kong at 62 per cent, Mexico at 56 per cent and Russia at 47 per cent. It is notable that the absolute number of people vaccinated will remain higher compared to any country as India has already fully vaccinated over 65 crore people that is more than double the total population of the US (32.95 crores). The US is the third-largest country in terms of population after China and India.

Vaccination to other countries

India is not only providing the Covid-19 vaccine to its own population but also to other nations under Vaccinate Maitri program. So far, India has provided 11.54 crore doses of the Covid-19 vaccine to 79 nations.

Har Ghar Dastak

To ensure the vaccine reaches the remote corners of the country, India is running the Har Ghar Dastak program, in which the healthcare workers are reaching out to remote villages to administer vaccine doses.

With the help of the Har Ghar Dastak Program, India has increased its 1st dose coverage by 12 per cent and 2nd dose coverage by 29 per cent.

India has truly lived the motto of the vaccine सर्वे सन्तु निरामयाः (may we all be free from the disease) in letter and spirit.

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Anurag
Anurag
B.Sc. Multimedia, a journalist by profession.

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