India has highest vaccination ramping up record in world: Health Ministry

India has highest vaccination ramping up record in world: Health Ministry

India had the highest vaccination ramping up record in the world, inoculating 7.9 crore people in 79 days.

Vaccines are finite, said NITI Aayog member and head of the country's COVID-19 Task force V.K. Paul on Tuesday, even as he and health secretary Rajesh Bhushan noted that nowhere in the world had countries opened up universal adult vaccination. They pointed out that India was the only country which has lowered vaccination age to 45. In all the western countries, which have more advanced facilities, vaccinations are still being given to at best the 50 plus age group. Lower ages are only for those with co-morbidities or other reasons.

Citing figures culled from international data websites, Bhushan said that the US was targeting people in the 65-75 years bracket till mid April. Sweden and Switzerland, which have among the most advanced healthcare, are still only targeting the 65 plus groups, in Australia it is 70 plus and aboriginals, in the UK 69 plus.

Bhushan also pointed out that India had the highest vaccination ramping up record in the world, inoculating 7.9 crore people in 79 days. The US achieved 16.5 crore in 112 days, the UK three crore in 118 days. Incidentally, the population of the UK is only around six crore. Yesterday, India achieved a record 43 lakh shots in a day, and as per latest figures, 8.31 crore vaccinations have been done.

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However, even as the largest vaccination drive in the world is onto a good pace, there is no shying away from the reality that the situation in the country is extremely grim at present. In the last 24 hours, India recorded 96,000 new cases; a day earlier, the daily count had exceeded one lakh. The daily deaths on Monday were 446. The deaths per million (120) are still among the lowest in the world (among populated countries). The UK has 1,800 deaths per million, US 1,600, Mexico 1,500.

Maharashtra continues to be in a serious situation with an average daily death count of 250. It accounts for 58 per cent of all active cases in the country. Punjab, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Gujarat, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala are other states of concern. The Centre has dispatched 50 teams, comprising two medicos each, to the most critical districts, to help local authorities with surveillance, control and containment measures. Of these, 30 teams have been sent to Maharashtra, 11 to Chhattisgarh and nine to Punjab.

Health Minister Dr Harshvardhan is expected to hold a virtual conference with health ministers of 11 states to review the pandemic situation.

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