Inches Away From 1 Billion Vaccine Milestone, India Plans Big Celebration

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The Health Ministry is preparing to celebrate administering 100 crore, or a billion vaccine doses with a variety of events across the country, sources told News18.

The Health Ministry expects that India should be able to reach the milestone next week by Monday or Tuesday, the sources said, adding that Prime Minister Narendra Modi may also address the nation to thank healthcare workers for their immense contribution to India’s vaccine drive.

The Union Health Ministry is planning to celebrate the day with events across India, sources told News18, adding that it plans to involve Covid-19 warriors and ground-level healthcare staff, who are key to the vaccination drive.

Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya has also sought ideas from the Ministry’s officials on how to honour Covid-19 warriors during the celebrations of 100 crore doses, including those who lost their lives in the line of duty.

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A special recognition will also likely be announced to motivate the healthcare workers and professionals, and ASHA and Anganwadi workers who have been working tirelessly in the fight against Covid.

The BJP also plans to hold various activities across the country which may include a thank-you drive for doctors and professionals.

On October 10, Mandaviya had hailed India's vaccine drive after the country crossed the 95 crore-landmark on Sunday, adding that the country is “marching rapidly towards administering 100 crore vaccine doses”.

According to the CoWin dashboard, 96,74,52,484 vaccine doses have been administered as of yet in the country. Thirty-two lakh vaccine doses have been administered on Wednesday till 7 PM.

Meanwhile, more than 97.79 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses have been provided to states and UTs so far, the Union Health Ministry said on Wednesday. Over 8.43 crore balance and unutilised vaccine doses are still available with the states and UTs to be administered, it said.

The vaccination drive has been ramped up through availability of more vaccines, advance visibility of vaccine availability to states and UTs for enabling better planning by them, and streamlining the vaccine supply chain, the ministry said.

More than 97.79 crore vaccine doses have been provided to States/UTs so far through Govt of India (free of cost channel) and through direct state procurement category, the ministry said.

The countrywide vaccination drive was rolled out on January 16 with healthcare workers (HCWs) getting inoculated in the first phase. The vaccination of frontline workers (FLWs) started from February 2.

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The next phase of COVID-19 vaccination commenced from March 1 for people over 60 years of age and those aged 45 and above with specified co-morbid conditions. The country launched vaccination for all people aged more than 45 years from April 1.

The government then decided to expand its vaccination drive by allowing everyone above 18 to be vaccinated from May 1. Meanwhile, the Union Health Ministry said that more than 95.96 crore Covid vaccine doses have been provided to states and Union Territories so far.

With inputs from PTI.

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