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India crosses 1 billion COVID vaccinations milestone

India crosses 1 billion COVID vaccinations milestone

India crossed a major milestone on Thursday when the number of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) vaccine doses administered in the country crossed the 100 crore (1 billion) mark.

Commemorating the "historic" day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the nation now has strong armour of 100 crore Covid vaccine doses to combat the biggest pandemic in 100 years.

"Today, this day of October 21, 2021, has been recorded in history. The nation now has strong armour of 100 crore Covid vaccine doses to combat this biggest pandemic in 100 years," PM Modi said at an event on Thursday.

"Congratulations India! This is the result of the able leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi," Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya said in a tweet.

Three-quarters of adults in the country of 1.3 billion people have had one shot and around 30 percent are fully vaccinated, the government says.

The number is twice the number of vaccines administered in the United States, five times that of Japan, nine times that of Germany and 10 times the number of vaccine doses administered in France, the government said in a presentation hailing the 'vaccine century'.

It said that 75 per cent of eligible population has taken the first dose and eight states and union territories (UTs) - Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu, Goa and Lakhshadweep - have achieved 100 per cent first dose coverage. It also said that four states and UTs have more than 90 per cent coverage of the first dose.

To celebrate India crossing the one billion Covid vaccination mark, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) will light up 100 of its heritage monuments in colours of the national flag, officials said on Thursday. This will be a tribute to health professionals, frontline workers, scientists, vaccine manufacturers and the citizens of the country who bravely fought the pandemic, the officials added.

India's Covid-19 vaccination drive was launched on January 16, 2021. Initially, the vaccination was opened for Health Care Workers (HCWs) only.

Later, it was expanded to cover persons above 60 years of age and those above 45 years with associated specified 20 comorbidities. It was further expanded to all people above 45 years of age from April 1. From May 1, all adults above 18 years of age became eligible for Covid-19 vaccination.

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