In a recently published news article by a reputed international news agency, it has been claimed that India has missed its vaccination target. This is misleading and does not represent the complete picture.
In the fight against global pandemic COVID-19, India’s national COVID-19 Vaccination programme has been one of the most successful and largest vaccination programmes compared with the many developed western nations with significantly low population base to vaccinate.
Since the start of the National COVID vaccination drive on 16th January, 2021 India has administered over 90% of 1st dose and 65% of 2nd dose to its eligible citizens. In the drive, India has achieved several milestones unprecedented in the world, including administering over 100 crore doses in less the 9 months, administering 2.51 crore doses in a single day and administering 1 crore doses per day on several occasions.
Compared with other developed nations, India has done a better job in administering COVID vaccination to its eligible adult citizens of 93.7 crore (as per RGI) across all its States and UTs.
In case of 1st dose coverage to the eligible population, USA has covered only 73.2% of the population, UK has covered 75.9% of its population, France has covered 78.3% of its population, and Spain has covered 84.7% of its population. India has already covered 90% of the eligible population with 1st dose of vaccine against COVID-19.
Similarly, for the 2nd dose of vaccines, the USA has covered only 61.5% of its population, the UK has covered 69.5%of its population, France has covered 73.2% of its population, and Spain has covered 81% of its population. While India has covered over 65% of the eligible population with 2nd dose of vaccine against COVID-19.
Further, over 11 states/UTs in India has already achieved 100% of 1st dose vaccination, while 3 States/UTs have already achieved 100% full vaccination (both 1st and 2nd dose) against COVID-19. Many States/UTs are soon expected to achieve 100% vaccination very quickly.
A nation-wide COVID-19 vaccination campaign Har Ghar Dastak campaign was implemented from 3rd Nov 2021 which includes mobilization, awareness, vaccination campaign through reaching out to all missed out and dropped out eligible beneficiaries through House to House visit. This has also resulted in an increase of 1st dose coverage by 11.6% since introduction of the campaign. While the 2nd dose coverage increased by 28.9% in the same period.
Keeping in view the global surge of COVID-19 cases in December 2021, detection of Omicron variant which has been categorized’ as a Variant of Concern (VOC), scientific evidence, global best practices and the inputs/suggestions of “COVID-19 Working Group” of “National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI)” as well as of “Standing Technical Scientific Committee (STSC)” of NTAGI it was decided to further refine the scientific prioritization & coverage of COVID-19 vaccination of teenagers in the age-group of 15-18 years to be started from 3rd January 2022.
Further strengthening India’s fight against COVID-19, the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has given approvals to two additional vaccines in December 2021. These include Biological-E’s CORBEVAX vaccine and SII’s COVOVAX vaccine for restricted use in emergency situation. This takes the number of vaccines given restricted use in emergency situation in India to 8.