India to administer one-billionth COVID vaccine shot next week

So far 73% of the country’s 18+ population has received at least one dose; around 30% have got both shots

So far, about 96 per cent of the 15-plus population in the country has received at least one dose while 83 per cent has received both doses | File Photo

India will administer its one-billionth (100 crore) COVID-19 vaccine doses next week, either on Monday or Tuesday, officials said.

Till Wednesday evening (October 13) health authorities had administered 96.7 crore doses. According to the CoWIN dashboard, 30.25 lakh doses were given on Wednesday, with more than 50 per cent of those (16.8 lakh) being the second dose.

So far 73 per cent of the country’s 18+ population has received at least one dose of the vaccine, the officials said, adding around 30 per cent have got both shots.

India began the world’s largest COVID-19 vaccination drive in January this year. Vaccine availability, which was initially slow, has now stabilised as new manufacturing facilities come online.

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The Serum Institute of India has told the Centre it will provide 22 crore doses of its Covishield vaccine this month. Bharat Biotech is expected to provide six crore Covaxin doses, and around 60 lakh doses of Zydus Cadila’s three-dose DNA vaccine, ZyCoV-D, are also expected to soon come to the market.

Bharat Biotech has also approached the World Health Organization (WHO) for emergency use approval for Covaxin and a decision on that is expected shortly, according to reports.

The lack of WHO approval means Covaxin is not recognised by some countries, such as the United States and the United Kingdom.

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Eleven other nations – Iran, Guyana, Nicaragua, Mauritius, Paraguay, Nepal, Venezuela, Zimbabwe, Mexico, Philippines, and Botswana – have approved the vaccine.

Covaxin is recognised for travel purposes by Hungary, Germany, Estonia, Greece, Belarus, Lebanon and Serbia.

Recently Covaxin received emergency use clearance for use on children between the ages of two and 18. Final clearance from the India’s drug regulator is expected soon.