Coronavirus: India implements one of the largest vaccination drives in the world
Earlier this week, Indian government launched one of the world’s largest covid vaccination drives. The vaccination campaign has already crossed 1 million mark, starting inoculation with the country’s health workers. The government data showed a rise in daily immunisation numbers, with over 230,000 individuals receiving doses on Thursday alone. Though in the middle certain technical glitches, supplies and vaccine-related apprehensions led to slight slump in the drive. But repeated appeals by the government officials and awareness drives run over digital platforms helped in regaining the pace of the campaign
The number of doses recorded on Thursday were believed to be the highest injected in a single day. Before it, since the launch of the drive, i.e. on January 16 government was able to provide only a little over 200,000 doses per day. So far the country had achieved a little over 57% of the target, which is an improvement as compared to Wednesday’s 55% mark. Some regions such as Delhi witnessed a significant increase in overall turnout, as the city was expecting a turnout of about 50% on an average but it achieved 73% on Thursday
The authorities credited a rise in turnout to recent amends introduced in the Co-WIN application as it now allowed vaccinators to administer shots to walk-in health care workers if those scheduled did not show up. “The app has been modified to allow creation of more session sites, more sessions per site, and change in site location as per the local requirement. Instead of a daily plan, officials concerned can now plan and schedule the sessions for the entire week,” said Manohar Agnani, additional secretary, health ministry.
The data collated by University of Oxford’s ‘Our World in Data’ website showed that India has so far been the fastest country to hit the one million mark, with only six days of drive initiation. US reached that number in nine days. But the Asian country still has a greater challenge ahead as it needs to vaccinate almost nine million more health workers and, that too with two doses per person (second doses to be given 28 days after the first). India needs to work on its pace a little more to achieve the 300 million target it has set for later this summer.
For the inoculation, Indian drug regulators provided go-ahead to two Covid-19 vaccines; Covishield (originally known as Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine developed in the UK) and Covaxin, (homegrown vaccine developed by Indian pharma company Bharat Biotech). Within a week of starting the drive, India also began shipping tens of thousands of free doses of Covid-19 vaccines to neighbouring countries, including Bhutan, Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar and Seychelles. So far the country has been exporting only Covishield. Some analysts referred it to as "vaccine diplomacy