India is successfully running the world’s largest, fastest, and free COVID-19 vaccination programme under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi. Despite the numerous challenges that our healthcare workers, administration, and other stakeholders face, we are able to meet many milestones during this vaccination drive and successfully administer COVID-19 vaccines in some of the most difficult terrain and geographical areas. The COVID vaccine has been administered to 96 percent of the adult population in the country, with 85 percent of the eligible population over the age of 15 receiving the second dose.
Due to these efforts and willingness the cumulative number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the country has crossed 190 crore on May 7. So far, more than 3.01 crore (3,01,97,120) children aged 12-14 years have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Over 2.63 billion precaution doses have been administered to healthcare workers, frontline workers, and those aged 60 and up above to date.
The nationwide vaccination drive began on January 16, 2017, with healthcare workers being the first to be immunized. Frontline workers were vaccinated starting on February 2 of last year.
The next phase of the COVID-19 vaccination drive began on March 1 of last year for people over the age of 60 and those aged 45 and up with certain comorbid conditions. From April 1 of last year, India mandated vaccination for all people over the age of 45.
From May 1 of last year, the government decided to broaden its vaccination campaign by allowing anyone over the age of 18 to be immunized against the viral disease.
The next phase of vaccination began on January 3 for adolescents aged 15 to 18 years.
India began administering precaution doses of vaccines to healthcare and frontline workers and those aged 60 and above with comorbidities from January 10. The country began inoculating children aged 12-14 from March 16 and also removed the comorbidity clause making all people aged above 60 eligible for the precaution dose of Covid vaccine.
Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi recently held a review meeting with state chief ministers and senior officials on the Covid-19 situation and vaccination programme. He said the authorities needed to remain alert after the meeting as challenges related to the pandemic had not yet gotten over.
He said, “Our priority is to vaccinate all eligible children at the earliest. For this, as before, special campaigns will also be needed in schools. Teachers and parents should be aware of this”, said the Prime Minister. A precautionary dose is available for all adults in the country to strengthen the vaccine protective shield. He added that teachers, parents, and other eligible people could take a precautionary dose. The PM further spoke about the country’s inoculation drive against the virus. “It is a matter of pride for every Indian that 96 percent of adult population in the country has got at least one dose of Covid vaccine, while 85 percent of the eligible population above 15 years of age inoculated with the second dose,” he said.
Shri Mansukh Mandaviya, Union Health Minister, also stated that India’s successful Covid-19 management and vaccination drive are being studied by experts around the world, and that with the two successes, India has provided a health sector model to the world at large.
“India is a large country with a population of 1.3 billion people and a diverse culture.” In such a situation, 97.5 percent first-dose administration is a huge achievement for India, and the rest of the world is seeing that this is India’s model. It is not the time to adopt a global model. Today, India has also presented its model to the world, which is being studied. Today, experts from around the world are visiting India to study the country’s Covid-19 management and vaccination campaign, and we must do more in the coming days.