India crossed the milestone of administering 200 crore (2 billion) Covid-19 vaccine doses at around Sunday noon, almost one-and-a-half years after starting the drive in January 2021. The country crossed the milestone of the first 100 crore (1 billion) doses on October 21 last year in nine months since the vaccination drive started. The next 100 crore doses also come after another nine months.
“17th July 2022, a day to remember forever. #200CroreVaccinations,” Union Health Minister Dr Mansukh Mandaviya tweeted with a broadcast of the CoWIN portal dashboard showing the number of doses crossing the 200-crore mark.
— Dr Mansukh Mandaviya (@mansukhmandviya) July 17, 2022
The country closed in on the 200-crore mark with over 25.2 lakh doses administered on Saturday and completed the feat with 1.3 lakh doses on Sunday morning.
The government, in fact, in anticipation of the milestone, added a countdown on the CoWin portal on Saturday. “Witness the history in making! India under PM @NarendraModi Ji’s leadership is all set to achieve the 200-crore COVID-19 vaccination mark! Countdown starts!” Mandaviya had tweeted on Saturday evening.
The milestone comes just after the government made precaution doses free to all adults for 75 days from July 15 to celebrate 75 years of India’s independence, leading to a rise in vaccination numbers. Till then, the third precaution dose was available free at government centres only for priority groups such as healthcare workers, frontline workers and those above the age of 60 years. Compared to the daily average of 13.6 lakh doses over the previous seven days, India administered 25 lakh doses on Saturday and 22 lakh doses on Sunday.
“India creates history again! Congrats to all Indians on crossing the special figure of 200 crore vaccine doses. Proud of those who contributed to making India’s vaccination drive unparalleled in scale and speed. This has strengthened the global fight against Covid-19.”
Throughout the rollout of the vaccine, the people of India have shown remarkable faith in science. Our doctors, nurses, frontline workers, scientists, innovators and entrepreneurs have played a key role in ensuring a safer planet. I appreciate their spirit and determination.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) July 17, 2022
As many as 94.9 crore adults are eligible for three doses of the vaccine, whereas 12.2 crore children between 12 and 17 years are at present eligible for the first two doses. India has administered the first dose to 91.8 crore people and the second dose to 84.9 crore persons till Saturday morning, according to data provided by the Union health ministry. It has also administered the first dose to over 9.97 crore eligible children and the second dose to 7.6 crore.
The highest number of doses administered in a single day was 2.5 crore doses on September 17, 2021, when a mega vaccination drive was carried out to mark Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s birthday.
The achievement of 200 crore doses was made possible by India indigenously developing and locally manufacturing several Covid-19 vaccines, reaching the people through 4.7 lakh government and 22,000 private vaccination centres, creating seamless cold chain, and a software to track everything from sessions, stocks, and beneficiaries.
Amidst a shortage of syringes as Covid-19 vaccination drives were underway globally, the government was able to utilise the available 1ml and 2ml syringes by marking them at 0.5 ml needed for Covid-19 doses.
Even though the process was tracked online through the government’s CoWIN portal, there was no digital divide, with nearly 71 per cent of the vaccination centres being located in rural areas, according to the government.