New Delhi: India achieved a major milestone in its vaccination programme against COVID-19 as the cumulative vaccine doses administered in the country surpassed the 100-crore mark on Thursday.
Hailing the vaccination landmark as a triumph of Indian science, enterprise and collective spirit of 130 crore Indians, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the country has scripted history.
The prime minister also visited the vaccination centre at the Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital here after the milestone was achieved and interacted with hospital officials, staff and some of the beneficiaries.
He was accompanied by Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya.
Congratulating the country on the vaccination landmark, Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, WHO, South-East Asia, said : "Huge congratulations to India for marking yet another milestone- a billion COVID-19 vaccine doses administered. This extraordinary feat in a short span was not possible without strong leadership, inter-sectoral convergence, dedicated efforts of the entire health and frontline workforce and the people themselves."
According to official sources, over 75% of India's all eligible adult population has been administered at least the first dose and around 31% has received both the doses of the vaccine.
The UNICEF India also congratulated the Government on reaching the milestone.
“This is a tremendous achievement, given the logistical complexity of administering 1 billion doses in less than a year, in a country as vast and diverse as India. As Indian families recover from the recent devastating COVID-19 wave, for many this milestone means hope," the UNICEF India said.
“Over the last few months, we have seen health workers working round-the-clock to accelerate vaccination coverage in every part of the country. Many travelled across difficult terrains to vaccinate people, including in the most remote and hard-to-reach areas. We salute the commitment and hard work of every one of these health workers. Without them, and the dedication of the scientists, doctors, manufacturers, policy makers and health managers, we would not have been able to achieve this milestone," it added.
The top five states which have administered the highest number of doses are Uttar Pradesh followed by Maharashtra, West Bengal, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh.
India took 85 days to touch the 10-crore vaccination mark, 45 more days to cross the 20-crore mark and 29 more days to reach the 30-crore mark, according to the Union Health Ministry data.
The country took 24 days to reach the 40-crore mark from 30-crore doses and then 20 more days to surpass the 50-crore vaccination mark on August 6.It then took 76 days to go past the 100-crore mark.
The countrywide vaccination drive was rolled out on January 16 with health care workers (HCWs) getting inoculated in the first phase. The vaccination of frontline workers (FLWs) started from February 2.
The next phase of COVID-19 vaccination commenced from March 1 for people over 60 years of age and those aged 45 and above with specified co-morbid conditions.