India becomes ‘fastest country in world’ to administer 100m doses
NEW DELHI, Apr 11: India says it has become the "fastest country in the world" to administer more than 100 million doses of coronavirus vaccines, amid a deadly second wave of infections.
It achieved the feat in 85 days, whereas the US took 89 days and China 102 days, the health ministry said. But the country reported a record daily increase of over 150,000 cases - and more than 800 new deaths - on Sunday.
And there are reports the vast vaccination drive itself is struggling. This week, half a dozen states reported a shortage of doses even as the federal government insisted that it had 40 million doses in stock and that the "allegations" of vaccine scarcity were "utterly baseless".
The inoculation drive aims to cover 250 million people by July, but experts say the pace needs to pick up further to meet the target. Everyone aged over 45 is now eligible for jabs at vaccination centres and hospitals. Most doses have so far been given to frontline workers and the over-60s.
The four-day Tika Utsav to create awareness about vaccines against Covid-19 commenced on Sunday amid the BJP and the opposition trading barbs over the recent vaccine shortage reported by several states, which the Union health ministry dismissed.
Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi earlier criticised the concept of 'vaccination festival' and said the ongoing vaccine shortage is a serious problem and not a festive occasion. On Sunday, as the festival began, he hit out at the central government and said the government has no control over the pandemic situation. -HT