India administers 2.5 cr Covid vaccine doses on Friday

India administers record 2.5 crore Covid-19 vaccine doses in a day on PM Modi's birthday

Buoyed by the success, the Union Health Ministry hopes to reach the landmark of 100 crore vaccination by the first week of October

A health worker prepares to inoculate a man with a dose of Covishield vaccine against the Covid-19 coronavirus at a special vaccination drive in Hyderabad on September 17, 2021. Credit: AFP Photo

India on Friday set a new Covid-19 vaccination record with over 2.5 crore jabs on a single day coinciding with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 71st birthday, bringing the country within a touching distance of 80 crore vaccination milestone.

The mega spike eclipsed the Chinese record of 2.43 crore vaccinations in a single day.

Buoyed by the success, the Union Health Ministry hopes to reach the landmark of 100 crore vaccination by the first week of October, coinciding again with Modi's 20th year at public office.

At the end of the day, over 2.5 crore doses were administered, pushing the total vaccination count to 79.3 crore. More than 59 crore vaccines or 75% of the shots have been given as the first dose whereas 25% of the Indian adults (19.75 crore) are now fully vaccinated.

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With Dasara-Diwali-Chhath coming up within a month, the Centre sought to complete the first dose of the vaccination to the target audience of 94.47 crore individuals before the festival mingling of people, health ministry sources said. Special care is also being taken to ensure full vaccination in the five poll-bound states including the populous Uttar Pradesh.

The ministry took nearly two weeks to prepare for the Friday spike, which involved several logistical challenges, said an official advising the government on Covid-19 vaccination.

The government ensured adequate doses at the jab sites, the presence of the vaccination staff and helped mobilise people to come forward to take the shot.

Pune-based Serum Institute of India, the manufacturer of Covishield, would supply 20 crore doses in September while another 3.5 crore would come from Bharat Biotech, Hyderabad. Zydus Cadila too is expected to supply one crore doses either by September end or in early October. In August, the two suppliers provided 19 crore doses.

“Under Prime Minister Modi's remarkable leadership the country has again achieved a new vaccination milestone. We have done it,” Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said, reacting to the landmark.

The minister was visiting Delhi's Safdarjung hospital when the milestone was reached. Lauding the health workers, he said, “Due to your efforts, India was able to achieve this milestone.”

Due to the supply crunch, India's Covid-19 vaccination was at a low in May but has improved since then. The average daily vaccination dipped to 19.69 lakh in May after the April high of nearly 30 lakh, but rose subsequently to nearly 40 lakh in June, 60 lakh in August and more than 74 lakh by mid-September.

India administered nearly 12 crore Covid-19 vaccine doses in June and surpassed it by the third week of September as supply from the two manufacturers improved.

Ministry sources said the government didn't have any plan to restart the export of Covid-19 vaccines as the goal was to fully vaccinate the entire adult population. Also, no decision has been taken on inoculating the 12-18 crore age group.

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