Yesterday, India touched the figure of 1 billion Covid-19 vaccinations!
Let’s put this number into perspective.
India started its vaccination campaign against Covid-19 only 275 days ago. Since, India has administered an average of 2.7 million vaccine doses a day- akin to vaccinating a country the size of Namibia between sunrise and sunset for the last 40 weeks straight! September 17, 2021 was particularly historic- when India vaccinated more than 25 million people-a population the size of Australia- in the span of a single day! The significance of vaccinating a huge population spread across an immense geography in record time cannot be overstated.
As things stand at present, 75% of the adult population or 3 out of every 4 adults in India has received at least one dose of the vaccine. 30% of the total population is fully vaccinated.
Vaccinations have indeed played a key role in limiting the spread of Covid-19 in India. On October 18, 2021, we recorded 13,596 cases- our lowest in 230 days. All credit for this scale and pace of vaccination must go to the determination of the Indian leadership as well as to the people of India to unite in the fight against Covid-19. The civic responsibility displayed by the citizens of India in shunning “vaccine hesitancy” and getting vaccinated in huge numbers must be commended. It was indeed “Sabka Prayaas”, as Prime Minister Modi has put it. Particular mention must be made of the efforts of our healthcare workers, doctors and frontliners who have worked tirelessly to achieve this milestone!
Together, we did!
India’s accomplishment of administering 1 billion doses- nearly all of which were Made in India- is a confirmation of our homegrown capacities and domestic strengths. The approach was, above all, science-born and science-driven. Technology too played an integral part in India’s vaccination campaign to counter Covid-19. The cold chain system across the country was managed through the Electronic Vaccine Intelligence Network (eVIN) and a unique digital platform, CoWIN, was rolled out to ensure that the vaccination project was seamless, organized and end-user friendly. After all, technology which is practical, scalable, affordable and benefits humanity has always been India’s forte!
At the heart of this national endeavour is also the constitutional ethos of socio-economic justice for all- in complete consonance with Prime Minister Modi’s vision of Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikaas. The vaccination coverage in India’s countryside accounts for 65% of India’s vaccination coverage till date, 75% of the total 300,000 Covid Vaccination Centres across India are in rural areas. Public health professionals and India-watchers have been unanimous in stating there was no rural-urban divide in India’s vaccination campaign to counter Covid-19.
We are deeply grateful to the Government and people of Bhutan who have stood steadfast by India through this journey, as only true friends do. Your messages of support, sympathy and goodwill during the course of the second wave fortified us, as did the chanting, prayers and healing wishes. Your warm messages of congratulations yesterday on recording one billion vaccinations touched India’s hearts. This is indeed an opportune moment for me to extend a sincere and unfeigned thank you!
Going forward, we are looking at an increased monthly production of Covid-19 vaccines, a bigger basket of homegrown vaccine options, and greater numbers of those vaccinated within the country. We have since October resumed vaccine support to our friends and partners, and our capacity to share would only burgeon, as a direct consequence of an increased production capacity.
The India way is to innovate despite constraints, to unite and act in the face of daunting challenges and to turn crisis situations into veritable opportunities that take the nation forward. India’s achievement of a billion vaccine doses is a milestone for the world and strengthens the global fight against the pandemic- in harmony with India’s vision of “One Earth, One Health”. As a nation that takes its responsibility to be a force for the global good seriously, India will continue to move forward- in Swami Vivekananda’s immortal words- with infinite energy, infinite enthusiasm, infinite daring, and infinite patience!
Indian Ambassador to Bhutan