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Sunday, May 28, 2023

Bharat crosses 1 crore vaccinations on a single day, net vaccinations cross 62 crore!

Bharat on Friday hit a record one crore doses of anti-Covid jabs, surpassing the previous high of 92 lakh shots on August 16 as vaccination picked up pace with improved supplies. Now with a net total of 62 crore+ vaccine doses delivered, almost 37% of Bharat’s 1.3 billion population is covered with at least one dose, whereas 10% are fully vaccinated.

In terms of the number of people who have received at least one dose, Bharat is behind only China, which claims to have delivered two billion shots overall as of August 26. The US has 172 million people fully vaccinated and India has 136 million.

The government aims to cover all of the adult population by December this year, and vaccination for children (12 to 17 years) could start by October with the Zydus-Cadila vaccine ZyCov-D. Officials said the improved pace of vaccination is mainly driven by better supply of jabs in August coupled with the government’s initiatives to expand the coverage, particularly for the second dose.

While around 15 crore doses have already been given in August, the advance visibility given by the Centre on Friday morning showed over four crore unused doses available with states. This is higher than the 13.45 crore doses given in July and 11.97 crore doses given in June. “We are targeting to give 20-22 crore doses in September,” a senior official said.

Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh have administered the maximum number of doses in August. While UP has recorded almost 2.15 crore doses this month so far, MP has given 1.3 crore doses and Maharashtra nearly 1.1 crore doses. The government expects vaccine supplies to improve further with Zydus Cadila’s ZyCoV-D likely to be available from October and Covaxin supplies also improving. Currently, three vaccines are being administered in Bharat — Covishield, Covaxin and Sputnik V.

However, achieving the target of full vaccination will also require overcoming the vaccine hesitancy which has taken firm root in certain sections. Government will have to act against politicians and so-called public intellectuals like Prashant Bhushan who have been brazenly spreading falsehoods against the vaccine, and will also need to counter the usual scare-mongering about vaccine causing sterilization or other conspiracy theories which have led to higher vaccine hesitancy among Muslims and others.

Many netizens applauded the achievement of the vaccine manufacturers, health care workers, and government officials responsible for the success of the Covid-19 vaccination drive. Despite the propaganda against indigenous vaccines like Covaxin, and the various obstacles that came up along the way such as America’s hoarding of vaccine raw materials impacting Covishield supplies, Bharat has proved the naysayers wrong.

Western media and their Indian sepoys were painting a doomsday scenario, especially after the deadly second wave which hit Bharat in April and May, but the nation has shown resilience in coming out of the crisis and has accelerated the vaccination drive beyond what many thought was possible.

By no means can we consider the danger from the pandemic over, and even vaccinated individuals should continue to exercise caution by masking up when in crowded situations, especially indoors. But at the same time, it is important to call out those who have done nothing but spread negativity, doubt and misinformation ever since the pandemic started. And that is exactly what some twitterati did, with some scathing and sarcastic tweets.

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