India becomes second county to reach 20 crore vaccination coverage after US

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New Delhi, May 26 (PTI) India has become the second country after the US to have crossed 20 crore cumulative COVID-19 vaccination coverage, the Union health ministry said on Wednesday.

India achieved this coverage in 130 days as against the USA's feat in 124 days, the ministry said. According to data available on Our World In Data and multiple sources, other leading countries in COVID-19 vaccination drive include the UK which has reached 5.1 crore mark in 168 days, Brazil that reached 5.9 crore mark in 128 days, and Germany which reached 4.5 crore mark in 149 days. On the 130th day of the drive, the cumulative COVID vaccination coverage crossed the 20 crore mark (with 20,06,62,456 doses including 15,71,49,593 first dose and 4,35,12,863 second dose of COVID-19 vaccines), according to data available at 7 AM,' the ministry said. Over 34 per cent of the population above 45 years has received at least the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine in India till date. Similarly, over 42 per cent of 60+ years of population in India has received at least first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, the ministry said.

India's COVID-19 vaccination drive was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on January 16.

As on date, India is using three vaccines against COVID-19 in its immunisation drive, these include the made-in-India vaccines Serum Institute of India's Covishield and Bharat Biotech's Covaxin. Russian Sputnik V is the third vaccine to get approval from the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) for Emergency Use Authorisation and is being used in a few private hospitals which are expected to be increased over the coming days, the ministry said.

In Phase I of the vaccination drive, started 130 days ago on January 16, the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC) prioritised healthcare workers, and frontline workers (both government and private sector). Phase II of the vaccination drive started from March 1, focused on protecting the most vulnerable age groups. These prioritised age-groups included people above 60 years of age and those above 45 years with associated specified co-morbidities. This was further relaxed to all people above 45 years of age on April 1. In the third phase, 'Liberalised Pricing and Accelerated National COVID-19 Vaccination Strategy' was adopted on 1st May 2021. Under this strategy, everyone above 18 years of age are eligible for COVID-19 vaccination. PTI PLB ZMN

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