India administered a record 25 million Covid-19 vaccines on Friday — putting it ahead of Europe until now — and is targeting to cross the 1 billion jab mark by October 10, buoyed by enhanced and consistent supplies.
The Centre has been assured of 200 million doses of Covishield by Serum Institute of India and 35 million Covaxin doses by Bharat Biotech this month. About 10 million doses of Zydus Cadila’s newly approved vaccine for those 12 years and above will also be available by end of this month. This will help India cross 1 billion by October 10, before the festival season begins with Durga Puja on October 11 and Dussehra on October 15. The 25 million peak was hit on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's birthday, a minute before midnight. The previous record was 14 million doses on August 31. With this, India claimed to have made a world record, beating China whose highest daily vaccination is at 23 million doses.
India has administered a total 797 million doses, ahead of Europe (777 m doses), North America (593 m) and South America (403 m doses), according to government data. More than 10 million doses have been given in a single day for the fourth time in a month, counting Friday. According to government data, the peak vaccination rate on Friday was 3,000-4,000 doses a second.
By Friday evening, India had covered 63.45% of its targeted adult population with at least one dose and 21.04% with both doses. States and union territories such as Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam have exceeded the national average. Health ministry sources said the government is prioritising election-bound states including Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Goa to ensure the population is fully vaccinated before mass gatherings start.
“Our aim is to fully vaccinate election-bound states even before any form of campaigning begins,” said the senior official. “Himachal Pradesh has administered the first dose to 100% of the population.UP, with such a vast population, has covered 50% of the population. Gujarat 79% and Goa is also doing well. We have been emphasising to Punjab to increase the pace.”
The government expects Biological E’s vaccine and Sputnik Lite to complete phase 3 trials successfully, after which they will be approved for use. “More and more vaccines will be available by October and we should be able to fully vaccinate the entire population this year,” the official said.