India celebrates 1 bn Covid-19 vaccine doses with song, film, national flag

India celebrates 1 bn Covid-19 vaccine doses with song, film, national flag


India completed administering 1 billion doses (100 crore) of Covid-19 vaccines on Thursday: an event the government plans celebrating with a song, promotional film and announcements on airplanes, ships and railway stations.

“The country is close to making a vaccine century. To be a part of this golden opportunity, I appeal to the citizens who are yet to be vaccinated to contribute in this historic golden vaccination journey of India by getting vaccinated immediately,” said Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Wednesday on Twitter.

Dr VK Paul, the NITI Aayog Member for Health, congratulated the people and health care workers of India on this milestone. “It’s remarkable to reach the 1 billion dose mark for any nation, an achievement in just over 9 months since the vaccination program started in India,” he said.

India had administered 995 million vaccine does (99.54 crore) till Wednesday, PTI reported citing data till 7.15 pm data from the Co-WIN portal. As many as 75 per cent of all adults have taken the first dose and around 31 per cent are fully vaccinated with two doses, according to the portal.

Mandaviya will launch a song by singer Kailash Kher and an audiovisual film at the Red Fort in Delhi: part of government festivities for a “great achievement”, reported The country will unfurl its largest national flag at Delhi’s Red Fort.

He had earlier said there will be announcements on airplanes, ships, metros and at railway stations when India achieves its target of one billion doses.

The government wants all of India’s 944 million adults to get vaccinated this year. Daily shots have averaged 5 million this month, a fifth of September’s peak, though states are sitting on record stocks of more than 100 million as domestic output of the AstraZeneca vaccine soars, said Reuters.

Bloomberg reported earlier this week that India’s 1 billion Covid-19 vaccine doses milestone masks a yawning gap between the number of people who have been fully inoculated and those that have had just one shot. The country has only given two shots to nearly 21 per cent of its population of about 1.4 billion, according to its vaccine tracker. By comparison, 51 per cent have had a single dose, making it one of the highest disparities in the world, the tracker shows.

China is the only other country to have administered over a billion vaccine doses: it crossed the landmark in June and it is also the only other country to have a population of more than one billion.

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