India Vaccinates One Billion People Against Covid

Reaching a milestone, in India’s efforts to vaccinate all, 1 Billion (100 crore) jabs milestone shows the power of India’s collective effort, reports here suggest. India completed the administration of 100 crore doses of the Covid-19 vaccine on October 21, 2021, in just about nine months since the start of the vaccination drive.

PM Narendra Modi tweeted: “The journey from anxiety to assurance has happened and our nation has emerged stronger, thanks to the world’s largest vaccination drive.”

Observing that India has achieved a “difficult but extraordinary” target of 100 crore Covid vaccine doses, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday cautioned people to remain vigilant and not become careless, and urged them to continue wearing masks, saying that weapons are not thrown away while the battle is on.

Addressing the nation, the Prime Minister said, “Yesterday, on October 21, India has achieved the difficult but extraordinary target of 1 billion – 100 crore – vaccine doses. Behind this achievement is the power (kartavyashakti) of 130 crore countrymen; so this success is the success of India, the success of every countryman.”

This has been a tremendous journey in dealing with Covid-19, especially in comparison with  how things stood in early 2020. Humanity was dealing with such a pandemic after 100 years and no one knew much about the virus. We remember how unpredictable the situation appeared then, as we were faced with an unknown and invisible enemy mutating rapidly.

“When the biggest pandemic of 100 years came, questions started arising about India. Will India be able to fight this global pandemic? From where will India get the money to buy so many vaccines from other countries? When will India get the vaccine? Will the people of India get the vaccine or not? Will India be able to vaccinate enough people to stop the pandemic from spreading? There were various questions, but today the 100-crore vaccine doses are answering every question,” the Prime Minister said.

Describing the achievement of 100-crore vaccine doses as a new chapter in India’s history, Modi said, “The country started the campaign of ‘Free vaccine, vaccine for everyone’, by taking everyone along… There was only one mantra that if the disease does not discriminate, then there cannot be any discrimination in the vaccination. Therefore, it was ensured that the VIP culture did not dominate the vaccination campaign.”

It has been a truly bhagirath effort involving multiple sections of society. To get a sense of the scale, assume that each vaccination took just two minutes for a healthcare worker. At this rate, it took around 41 lakh man-days or approximately 11,000 man-years of effort to reach this landmark.

For any effort to attain and sustain speed and scale, the trust of all stakeholders is crucial. One of the reasons for the success of the campaign was the trust that people developed in the vaccine and the process followed, despite various efforts to create mistrust and panic.

There are some among us who only trust foreign brands, even for simple everyday necessities. However, when it came to something as crucial as the Covid-19 vaccine, the people of India unanimously trusted “Made in India” vaccines. This is a significant paradigm shift.

The vaccine drive is an example of what India can achieve if the citizens and the government come together with a common goal in the spirit of Jan Bhagidari. When India started its vaccination programme, there were many people who doubted the capabilities of 130 crore Indians. Some said India would take three to four years. Some others said people will not come forward to get vaccinated. There were those who said there will be gross mismanagement and chaos in the vaccination process. Some even said that India will not be able to manage supply chains. But just like the Janata Curfew and subsequent lockdowns, the people of India showed how spectacular the results can be, if they are made trusted partners.

In early 2020, when Covid-19 was rampaging across the world, it was clear to us that this pandemic will have to be eventually fought with the help of vaccines. We started preparing early. We constituted expert groups and started preparing a roadmap right from April 2020.

Till today, only a handful of countries have developed their own vaccines. More than 180 countries are dependent on an extremely limited pool of producers and dozens of nations are still waiting for the supply of vaccines, even as India has crossed 100 crore doses.

I am optimistic that the success achieved in the world’s largest vaccination drive will further spur our youth, our innovators and all levels of government to set new benchmarks of public service delivery, which will be a model not only for our country, but also for the world.”

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) illuminated 100 monuments with tri-color across the country as India achieved the landmark milestone of administrating 100 crore COVID vaccinations. The world is witnessing the largest and fastest vaccination drive in India against the pandemic. ASI gesture was a mark of respect and gratitude towards corona warriors who have contributed relentlessly in the fight against the pandemic.

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