India is set to administer one billion Covid-19 vaccine doses by early Thursday, an important milestone after a slow start, even as a recent drop in inoculations worries the government and healthcare providers.
Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya will launch a song and an audio-visual film at the Mughal-era Red Fort in New Delhi around noon to “celebrate the landmark milestone”, his ministry said.
“I appeal to all unvaccinated Indians to quickly get their shots and contribute to our historic golden vaccination journey,” Mandaviya said on Twitter.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi also took to Twitter to express his congratulations.
India scripts history.
We are witnessing the triumph of Indian science, enterprise and collective spirit of 130 crore Indians.
Congrats India on crossing 100 crore vaccinations. Gratitude to our doctors, nurses and all those who worked to achieve this feat. #VaccineCentury
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) October 21, 2021
Nearly 90 per cent of thecountry’s vaccinations have been done using the AstraZeneca vaccine produced locally by the Serum Institute of India.
The government wants all of India’s 944 million adults to get vaccinated this year. As of now 75 per cent of them have got at least one dose and 31 per cent have had two.
India has so far reported 34.1 million Covid-19 cases and more than 452,000 deaths, most during a second wave of infections of the Delta variant that surged through the country between April and May.
A “sizeable number“ of people in India have not taken their second dose by the due date despite adequate supplies, the health ministry said on Tuesday, as new infections fell to their lowest since early March.
>> India: Active Covid-19 cases lowest in 204 days
>> Covid-19: India extends international flight ban until October 31
Daily shots have averaged 5 million this month, a fifth of September’s peak, though states are sitting on record stocks of more than 100 million as domestic output of the AstraZeneca vaccine soars.
Despite the current low number of infections, ministry officials have been urging people to get vaccinated fast, especially as the ongoing festival season means family gatherings and mass shopping, raising the risk of a new wave of infections.