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India has managed more than a billion Covid jabs since it started its vaccination drive in January this year. It attained this milestone in 278 days – the first vaccine was given on 16 January.

India has fully vaccinated about 30% (291 million) of the eligible population and 707 million have had the first dose. India aims to fully vaccinate about a billion people by the end of 2021 but authorities say the drive needs to pick up pace further to meet the target.

This milestone makes India the second country to reach the one billion mark – China crossed it in June. Reaching the one billion mark in 278 days means that India, on an average, managed 3.6 million doses per day. However, the number of doses actually administered each day since January was not consistent, and varied widely.

India is set to celebrate this historic achievement – Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya will launch a film and song at capital Delhi’s Red Fort. So far, the country has reported more than 34 million Covid cases, second only to the US, and more than 452,000 deaths – behind the US and Brazil. Experts estimate that the country needs to give more than 12 million doses a day to fully vaccinate all qualified adults by the end of 2021. There are also about 70 million more “vulnerable” adults above the age of 45 that are yet to get even a single dose.


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Joydev Mishra

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