Over a billion doses of vaccine administered – .

Over a billion doses of vaccine administered – .

A health worker inoculates a man with a dose of the Covishield vaccine against the Covid-19 coronavirus inside a vaccination center in Ghaziabad on October 20, 2021.
Prakash Singh | AFP | Getty Images
India has administered more than a billion doses of Covid-19 vaccines since the start of its ambitious vaccination program in January.
Government data has shown that 708 million people, or about 75% of the eligible population, have received at least one dose of the vaccine while 30% are now fully vaccinated against the disease. Only people over the age of 18 are currently allowed to receive the shots.

“This achievement belongs to India, to every Indian citizen,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Twitter, according to CNBC’s translation of his remarks in hindi. “I express my gratitude to all the vaccine manufacturing companies in the country, to the workers engaged in the transport of vaccines, to the professionals in the health sector engaged in the development of vaccines. “

New Delhi wants to fully immunize all of India’s adult population by the end of the year – but some, including Delhi’s High Court, have expressed doubts about the country’s ability to meet the target within that time frame.

The number of doses administered daily was not uniform. For example, over the past month, data showed that on some days India administered up to 10 million doses and on other days as few as 900,000 injections.

To fully immunize nearly 950 million people, India would need more than 1.8 billion doses of vaccine. In June, the government set an ambitious goal of producing more than 2 billion doses of vaccine by December.
Vaccine makers in India have increased production in recent months.

India has approved several vaccines since the start of the vaccination program. They include the AstraZeneca shot – known locally as Covishield and manufactured by the Serum Institute, Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin, and Russia’s Sputnik-V.

The country has also reportedly approved its first vaccine for under-18s – a three-dose vaccine produced by Indian drug maker Cadila Healthcare.

While the vaccination remains voluntary, more than 70,000 public facilities administered the vaccines for free on Thursday, according to the data. People can also pay to get them at over 2,000 private centers.

India suffered a devastating second wave between February and early May, in which daily infection cases and death rates rose at an alarming rate. The crisis has pushed India’s health care system to the brink of collapse.

While the South Asian nation expects a third wave of infections to strike this year, the consensus among many public health experts is that the impact this time around will likely be less severe than previous waves.

CNBC’s Naman Tandon contributed to this report.


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