Sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik creates a sand sculpture celebrating 1 year of India's COVID-19 vaccination drive, at Puri beach, Sunday, Jan. 16, 2022. (PTI)
New Delhi: The countrywide vaccination drive against Covid-19 on Sunday completed one year, during which over 156.76 crore doses have been administered. The massive vaccination campaign is being seen as a bulwark against the rampaging ‘third wave’ of Covid-19, caused by a new variant, Omicron, that was not known when the first vaccines were administered.
Highlighting the intensity of the third wave, India added 2,71,202 new infections, according to date update by the Union health ministry on Sunday, taking the total tally to 3,71,22,164. This included 7,743 cases of the Omicron variant, up by 1,702 which is the highest in a single day so far. The active cases have increased to 15,50,377.
According to health ministry officials, over 93 per cent of the adult population have received at least one dose while over 69.8 per cent have been fully vaccinated. A commemorative postage stamp on indigenously developed vaccine Covaxin was released to mark the event.
"As a result of the country's solidarity and Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji's commitment during the Corona crisis that the country not only manufactured a vaccine but also inoculated a large part of the population in a very short time. This one year of vaccination campaign shows India's resolve," Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya said in another tweet.
The drive was rolled out on January 16 last year with healthcare workers getting inoculated in the first phase. Vaccination of frontline workers started from February 2. Vaccination opened for those over 60 years of age and those aged 45 and above with specified co-morbid conditions. Vaccination of all people aged over 45 started from April 1. It was extended to everyone above 18 from May 1. On January 3 this year, adolescents in the age group of 15-18 years were allowed to take the vaccine. A third dose is being given from January 10 to health and frontline workers and those above aged 60.
The health ministry has claimed that India's vaccination programme has been one of the most successful in the world, when compared to developed western nations with a significantly low population base to vaccinate. India administered 100 crore doses in less than nine months, it said.
Covid vaccine doses administered in the country surpassed the 100-crore mark on October 21 last year. The cumulative vaccine doses administered in the country surpassed the 150-crore mark on January 7.
"A certain section of people attempted to sow confusion and spread misinformation to create vaccine hesitancy, but the prime minister was determined and he kept on encouraging and motivating the scientists and companies. Thus, the COVID-19 vaccine research, manufacturing and the inoculation drive progressed at a steady pace," Mandaviya said.
"Our vaccination drive is an example of what India can achieve if the citizens come together in the spirit of 'jan bhagidari', as remarked by the prime minister. It is a remarkable example of 'Aatmanirbhar Bharat," he said as he thanked the healthcare professionals, the scientific community, the vaccine manufacturers and all the people for their relentless hard work and dedication in the battle against the pandemic.
Highlighting the remarkable efforts of all the stakeholders in the collective fight against Covid, the health minister said, "The entire world community is surprised with our efforts in fighting the pandemic. Despite having a high density of population, we have been able to administer more than 156 crore vaccine doses. India has encountered various challenges along the journey, but it is the resolve and dedication of more than 135 crore people that we could overcome every challenge. Credit goes to our indigenous research and development and the streamlined production and distribution of vaccines."
He said the vaccination programme is a story of the country's unparalleled journey.
"It showcases the Indian model and the extraordinary achievement of our country, guided by the unshakable conviction of the prime minister in the hidden potential and capabilities of the citizens," Mandaviya said.