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One Billion COVID Doses Later, Is India on Track to Fully Vaccinate All Adults?

The Center also announced earlier in May that India’s adult vaccine drive will be completed before December 2021.

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2 min read

India administered its 1 billionth dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, 21 October, passing a major milestone for a country where, just a few months ago, the Delta variant of the virus ripped through.

The occasion was met with a lot of song and dance, with the Centre launching a new song and an audiovisual film to mark the landmark event. Along with that, the largest national flag, weighing 1,400 kg will be hoisted at the Red Fort.

Soon after the country hit the milestone, PM Modi paid a visit to Delhi’s Dr Ram Manohar Lohia hospital to interact with health workers and vaccine beneficiaries.

And given the hurdles that India faced in the initial days – from vaccine shortages, vaccine distribution problems to states and the deadly second wave that crippled our health care system for nearly three months – hitting one billion doses is no small achievement.
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But as India celebrates this major milestone, it's also important to remember that millions of people are still waiting to receive the vaccine and according to official figures, we have only fully vaccinated 30 percent of our nearly 1.4 billion population. And this statistic does not include children under 18, who make up nearly 40 percent of the population.

Even though 74 percent of the population is vaccinated with one dose, the issue of vaccine hesitancy still exists, with at least 10 percent of the population according to a recent survey not planning on taking the vaccine at all.

The Center also announced earlier in May that India’s adult vaccine drive will be completed before December 2021. But are we on track to meet that target?

What hurdles is India currently facing in our vaccination drive, and nine months later, what lessons have we learned from them?

To analyse this, for today’s episode, we spoke with Anjela Taneja, who is the Inequality Campaign Lead at Oxfam India and Dr Chandrakant Lahariya, an epidemiologist and a public policy expert. Tune in!

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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