April 25 marks the 100th day of India’s massive vaccination drive, one of the largest inoculation programmes in the world, even as coronavirus cases continue to surge in the country reaching unprecedented single-day rise of 3.49 lakh new infections. However, India has also achieved a positive record by becoming the “fastest country in the world” to administer 14 crore vaccines in a span of 99 days.
According to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, 140,802,794 of COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in the country to date, quoting an 8 pm provisional report on Saturday.
Healthcare Workers (HCWs) and Frontline Workers (FCWs) were the first cohort eligible to take the vaccine shot in India in phase 1 of India’s COVID-19 immunisation programme flagged off on January 16 this year. A sanitation worker became the first Indian to receive the vaccine. On the 100th day, official records showed that 9,289,621 HCWs have taken the 1st dose and 5,994,401 the 2nd dose, while 11,942,233 FLWs have got the first jab and 6,277,797 the second one.
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In March, vaccination was opened to all citizens above 60 years and those over 45 years with co-morbidities. And, in this phase, 49,632,245 people above the age of 60 years have taken the 1st shot and 7,702,025 in the same age group have gone in for the 2nd dose.
From April, COVID-19 vaccination was opened to the age group of 45 years and above. In this phase, 47,641,992 citizens in the age group of over 45 to 60 years old have so far been administered the 1st dose, and 2,322,480 in the same age group have taken the 2nd dose, according to figures released by the government and reported by the Hindustan Times.
Under pressure from states, the Centre expanded its immunisation drive to include its entire adult population from May 1. This decision however comes in the backdrop of significant vaccine shortages being reported in many states forcing many people to even defer their second dose.
Also, people above the age of 18 years will only be able to receive vaccine doses after private sales begin or after the respective state governments procure stocks for distribution. Though the Ministry of Health has clarified on Saturday (April 24) that the Centre will continue to give vaccines for free to the state. Additionally, the states and the private enterprises can buy the two vaccines, Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin and Serum Institute of India’s Covishield directly from the manufacturers.
Under the government’s tweaked vaccine policy, these vaccine manufacturers will be allowed to sell 50 per cent of their doses to the states as well as in the open market and the rest 50 per cent to the Centre.