In response to the media reports that claimed the country has missed its COVID-19 inoculation targets, the Union Health Ministry gave an official statement , stating India's vaccination programme against COVID-19 has been one of the most successful and largest in the world.
"In a recently published news article by a reputed international news agency, it has been claimed that India has missed its vaccination target. This is misleading and does not represent the complete picture," the ministry said in a statement. In the fight against the global pandemic, India's national vaccination programme has been one of the most successful and largest vaccination programmes when compared to many developed western nations with significantly low population base to vaccinate, it said.
In the vaccination drive, so far, the country has achieved several milestones, which have no precedent in the world, including administering over 100 crore doses in less than nine months, administering 2.51 crore doses in a single day and several times administering one crore doses in a day, the ministry said.
"Compared with other developed nations, India has done a better job in administering Covid vaccination to its eligible adult citizen of 93.7 crore (as per the RGI (Registrar General of India)) across all its states and UTs (union territories)," it underlined.
"In case of first dose coverage to the eligible population, the US has covered only 73.2 per cent of its population, the UK has covered 75.9 per cent of its population, France has covered 78.3 per cent of its population and Spain has covered 84.7 per cent of its population, the ministry said.
India has already covered 90 per cent of its eligible population with first dose of vaccine against COVID-19, it said in the statement.
Similarly, for the second dose, the US has covered 61.5 per cent of its population, the UK has covered 69.5 per cent of its population, France has covered 73.2 per cent of its population, and Spain has covered 81 per cent of its population, the ministry said. India has covered over 65 per cent of its eligible population with second dose of vaccine.
Over 11 states and UTs have already achieved 100 per cent first dose vaccination coverage, while three states and UTs have already achieved 100 per cent full vaccination against COVID-19 (both first and second dose), it said. Many states and UTs are soon expected to achieve 100 per cent vaccination very quickly,the statement said.
Under the nationwide COVID-19 vaccination programme, the 'Har Ghar Dastak' (house-to-house) campaign was implemented from November 3 and this includes mobilisation and awareness on vaccination by reaching out to all missed out or dropped out eligible beneficiaries.
"This has also resulted in an increase of first dose coverage by 11.6 per cent since introduction of the campaign. While the second dose coverage increased by 28.9 per cent in the same period," the statement stated.
Keeping in view the global surge in COVID-19 cases, detection of the Omicron variant, scientific evidence, global best practices and the suggestions of the COVID-19 Working Group of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI) as well as of the Standing Technical Scientific Committee (STSC) of the NTAGI, it was decided to further refine the scientific prioritisation and coverage of COVID-19 vaccination of teenagers in the age-group of 15-18 years to be started from January 3, it said.
Further strengthening India's fight against COVID-19, the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) has given approvals to two additional vaccines. These include Biological-E's Corbevax vaccine and SII's Covovax vaccine for restricted use in emergency situation. This takes the number of vaccines given restricted use in emergency situation in India to eight, the statement said.
(With PTI Inputs)