More than 22.6 million people in India were administered a single dose of vaccine in just one day on Friday which was three times the average daily total doses administered during the past month.
A number of states of the country organised special inoculation drives on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s birthday.
Calling the record vaccination numbers a birthday gift for Modi, who turned 71, the health minister of the country thanked the health sector workers for achieving the feat. Modi was severely criticised for the dramatic rise in infections and deaths in April and May in India as a second wave of the pandemic hit the country.
“Every Indian would be proud of today’s record vaccination numbers,” Modi said on Twitter. “Let us keep boosting vaccination to defeat Covid-19.”
The previous maximum number of vaccination in one day was reached on August 31 with 14.1 million people being administered vaccines. Over the last 30 days t country has been delivering an average of 7 million doses a day.
A rapid increase in the production of the AstraZeneca shot by the Serum Institute of India (SII), the biggest vaccine maker of the world, has helped immunisations in India surge in the past few weeks.
According to recent reports, more than 200 million doses to India’s immunisation programme this month is slated to be supplied by SII. The company had supplied about 150 million doses in the previous month.
In addition to SII, 35 million vaccine dosages will also be supplied by Bharat Biotech in September – which has developed the Covaxin vaccine. On the other hand, 10 million doses of its Covid-19 DNA vaccine is also expected to be provided to India by Cadila Healthcare.
According to unnamed Indian government officials quoted in various reports, the priority of the Modi government is vaccinating Indians for now even though it expects India to eventually become a major supplier of affordable shots to the world.
After having stopped exports of Covid-19 vaccines in April, India now has the capacity to manufacture more than 2 billion doses a year.
Out of a total population of 1.35 billon of India, the country has so far inoculated more than 792 million doses, which is the highest after China.
India has given at least one dose to more than 62 per cent of its 944 million adults and two doses to about 21 per cent, with the aim of administering at least one dose to nearly all adults by the first half of next month.
The country has reported more than 33.38 million coronavirus cases and 444,248 deaths
(Adapted from SABCNews.com)