India Claims to Lead World in Daily Coronavirus Vaccinations

A medical worker inoculates a colleague with a Covid-19 coronavirus vaccine at the Rajawadi Hospital in Mumbai on January 16, 2021. (Indranil Mukherjee/AFP via Getty Images)
Indranil Mukherjee/AFP via Getty Images

India is vaccinating more people daily against the Chinese coronavirus than any other nation, the country’s health ministry said on Thursday.

“In terms of the number of daily doses administered globally, India stands at the top with an average of 3,430,502 doses administered per day,” India’s Ministry of Health said in a statement released April 8.

“Cumulatively, 90,198,673 vaccine doses have been given so far through 1,377,304 sessions,” the statement read.

“In its collective and collaborative fight against the global pandemic, India has crossed a landmark milestone under the world’s largest vaccination drive, which was launched on January 16 this year,” the health bureau said. “The cumulative number of COVID-19 [Chinese coronavirus] vaccine doses administered in the country has crossed 9 crore [90 million].”

“Eight states — Maharashtra, Rajastha, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, and Kerala — account for 60 percent of the total doses given so far in the country,” the Press Trust of India reported on Thursday.

India launched what it branded as the world’s largest Chinese coronavirus vaccine drive on January 16 with the goal of vaccinating at least 300 million people, a fraction of the country’s total population of nearly 1.4 billion. Indian health officials vaccinated roughly half a million people within the campaign’s first day, according to the United Nations.

India on January 4 approved for emergency use two coronavirus vaccine candidates — one developed by Oxford University and the U.K.-based drugmaker AstraZeneca and manufactured by the Serum Institute of India called “Covishield,” and another produced by the Indian company Bharat Biotech called “Covaxin” — to distribute as part of the campaign.

“Cargo planes flew 16.5 million shots to different Indian cities last week,” the Associated Press reported on January 16.

“We are launching the world’s biggest vaccination drive and it shows the world our capability,” Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a nationally televised speech to kickstart the inoculations.

Modi received his second dose of Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi on April 7 after receiving his first dose of the inoculation on February 28.

Indian health regulators approved Covaxin for emergency use on January 4 before the vaccine candidate had completed Phase III clinical trials. Modi publicly endorsed Covaxin before its manufacturer, Bharat Biotech, released final stage clinical data on its efficacy rate and safety on March 3, showing the vaccine to be 81 percent effective against the Chinese coronavirus.


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