India achieved the milestone of administering 1 billion COVID-19 vaccines on Thursday, 21 October, nearly nine months after the inoculation drive was initiated in January.
"India scripts history. We are witnessing the triumph of Indian science, enterprise and collective spirit of 130 crore Indians. Congrats India on crossing 100 crore vaccinations. Gratitude to our doctors, nurses and all those who worked to achieve this feat," Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted.
The central government has also planned massive celebrations at the Red Fort in the national capital to mark the momentous occasion.
PM Modi Visits RML Hospital
Soon after the milestone was achieved, PM Modi paid a visit to a vaccination centre at Delhi's Dr Ram Manohar Lohia hospital where he interacted with the health workers and the vaccine beneficiaries present.
Largest National Flag Hoisted at Red Fort, Song Released
Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Thursday, 20 October, launched a song by singer Kailash Kher and an audio-visual film in order to celebrate the landmark event.
Meanwhile, the largest national flag, a handspun khadi tricolour weighing around 1,400 kg was also hoisted at the Red Fort on Thursday.
"The country is close to making vaccine century. To be part of this golden opportunity, I appeal to citizens who are yet to be vaccinated to contribute in this historic golden vaccination journey of India by getting vaccinated immediately," Mandaviya had said in a tweet in Hindi on Wednesday.
Airline SpiceJet will inaugurate a special livery at the Delhi airport on Thursday, as per PTI. The event will be attended by Mandaviya, Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia, and SpiceJet CEO Ajay Singh.
The government is also making announcements on airplanes, ships, metros, and at railway stations upon the administration of the billionth dose.
'Matter of Pride': Amit Shah, Shashi Tharoor, Others Celebrate Vaccine Landmark
Several political leaders, including Home Minister Amit Shah, Aam Aadmi Party supremo Arvind Kejriwal, and Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, took to Twitter to mark India's vaccination achievement.
RS Sharma, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of National Health Authority (NHA) lauded the role of the Co-WIN app in achieving this milestone, saying that it had made the entire process smooth, orderly and transparent, reported ANI.
Meanwhile, Dr Krishna Ella, Chairman and Managing Director of Bharat Biotech said that the company is proud to have contributed to the historic landmark.
"This is a unified effort of the government, vaccine manufacturers, healthcare workers and all the vaccinated citizens, making it a true success story of Atmanirbharta," he said.
IMA Salutes PM Modi
The Indian Medical Association (IMA) in a press statement on Thursday appreciated Prime Minister Modi and the government over the accomplishment. IMA also praised synchronised efforts from the Ministry of Health in keeping the mortality rate under 1.4% during the pandemic.
"India being one of the largest base for vaccine production for COVID-19, IMA has leaped forward to help the Centre again by providing one million vaccination to people free for cost," it said.
International Leaders and Organisation Lauds India's Achievement
The US Embassy in India congratulated the efforts taken by the government to administer the vaccination to public to fight the pandemic.
"Congratulations to India on administering its 1 billionth dose of COVID-19 vaccine today, a major milestone in the world's efforts to combat the global pandemic," the embassy said in tweet.
Israel Prime Minister Naftali Bennett also congratulated PM Modi on the successful achievement of vaccines administered to more than 1 billion people in India. In his tweet Bennett stated that, "The life-saving vaccines are helping all to defeat the pandemic."
Even as India sets an immunisation milestone, the disparity between those vaccinated with both doses and those who have received only one jab remains wide. According to information available on the CoWIN website, about 75 percent of all adults have been administered the first dose of the vaccine while around 31 percent having received both doses.
"After 100 crore doses are administered, we will go in mission mode to ensure that those who have taken their first dose take their second dose too to ensure they are protected against COVID-19," Mandaviya had been quoted as saying.
India becomes the second country to vaccinate 1 billion citizens, after China.
(With inputs from PTI)