The first person from West Bengal to participate in the human trial of the Covid-19 Vaccine in India, Chiranjit Disbar, a teacher of Manikara Free Primary School in West Burdwan’s Durgapur took his first Covaxin shot in July 2020. There were two phases of trial; the second phase was within 14 days of the trial at the Institute of Medical Sciences (IMS) and SUM hospital in Bhubaneswar.

“Today, India has achieved a landmark milestone. One hundred crore doses, 1 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in our nation,” he told media. “What is even more remarkable is that this has been achieved through the vaccines which have been manufactured in India,” he added.

Paul, who has been playing a key role in the government’s efforts in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic further said, going forward, there is a need to ensure that those adults who are eligible for the vaccine, must receive their first dose and these are 25 per cent of our adult population.

It is time to be proud but not to be complacent even after the historic achievement. There are aspersions over the efficacy of the vaccine itself and WHO has still not recognized Covaxin. India has reported 14,146 new Covid-19 cases – lowest in 229 days – and 166 deaths in 24 hours.

The recovery rate stands at 98.10%, the highest since March 2020. India now has 1, 95,846 active cases – the lowest in 220 days. India has reported 14,146 new Covid-19 cases – lowest in 229 days – and 166 deaths in 24 hours. The recovery rate stands at 98.10%, the highest since March 2020. India now has 1, 95,846 active cases – the lowest in 220 days. The COVID-19 pandemic that first began in China engulfed the entire world. In India alone, the cases crossed the million mark only on government records.

No one knows how many more died unknown unsung. Moreover, the cost of treatment has been steeply rising, creating more pressure on people. In such critical times, when safety becomes the prime motive, it is always beneficial to reserve a reliable asset to cope with the situation.

An insurance policy that covers the COVID hospitalization expense cost will provide much-needed support to the insured and the family, in case of an unfortunate event. It will also ensure that there is a minimal financial burden in this distressing period.

Even after what Prime Minister Modi said about the achievement, it cannot be denied that in the beginning correct measures to contain Covid -19 were not adopted and lakhs of people died without any record maintained. Proper testing kids were not there and the Chinese kits were defective.

This resulted in the death and misery of millions without any government record.  Whatever tweet comes in flood from many Prime Ministers of other countries, it cannot be denied that administering 100 lakh doses in ten months and half of them only in last two to three months cannot be celebrated as an unparalleled achievement.

China has so far administered 225 crore doses in this period of time. Countries like China and even America which became the epicentre of Corona are now getting ready for administering the booster doses after the completion of the second dose. Even Sashi Tharoor who praised the Central government for the milestone had to say that there is no room for complacency and apologies are required for the earlier stage of mismanagement which took four million lives in India.

The outbreak of the pandemic has put into the focus shortage of healthcare facilities in India. This shortage coupled with the rising number of cases has led to sky-high Covid -19 treatment costs. The country is undergoing an economic slowdown because of the wrong policies of the Modi government.

This has been further aggravated by the prolonged lockdown. All these have a huge financial burden on families in India. It is difficult for them to cope with the situation and many were at the mercy of God.

Prime Minister Modi visited the Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital in Delhi and interacted with hospital officials and said “India scripted history. A little after this he tweeted proudly “We are witnessing the triumph of Indian science, enterprise and collective spirit of 130 crore Indians. Congrats India on crossing 100 crore vaccinations. Gratitude to our doctors, nurses and all those who worked to achieve this feat.”

Senior Congres leader Shashi Tharoor too tweeted that credit should be given to the government for achieving the 100-crore Covid vaccine dose landmark in the country. He tweeted, “This is a matter of pride for all Indians. Let’s give the government credit.”

He added, “After severe mismanagement of the second Covid wave and botching the vaccination orders that might have prevented it, the government has now partly redeemed itself. It remains accountable for it. His fellow Congressman Pawan Khera said that giving credit to “the government is an insult to millions of families who suffered and are still suffering from the after-effects and side effects of widespread Covid mismanagement”.

The government hospitals provide primary care of COVID-19 patients at economic costs. But given the rising number of cases, limited healthcare facilities and shortage of specialized staff, these hospitals are already working beyond their capacity. The country of 1.3 billion people is now the second in the world to cross the one billion dose milestone after China, which crossed the threshold in June. But still, we must remember that around 75% of India’s adult population has received one vaccine dose but only 30% are fully vaccinated. This is raising concerns that a large swathe of the population still remains vulnerable to the highly infectious delta variant of Covid-19.

The Third wave is in the offing. What is more, a matter of concern is that complete coverage is still a distant possibility. Even if two doses are given what will be about the booster doses and not a single booster dose has been started. The government is now optimistic that the country’s rising vaccine supply will be enough to cover its international and domestic commitments. Both of the two main suppliers have ramped up production, with the Serum Institute of India now producing around 220 million doses a month and Bharat Biotech about 30 million.

India earlier said it aimed to vaccinate all eligible adults by the end of the year, but experts say the current pace of immunizations will need to increase to meet this goal, even though it has already ramped up significantly.

Though the campaign began in January, by mid-June, only about 3.5% of the population had been fully vaccinated. India celebrated the achievement of 1 billion shots with fanfare Thursday — though it’s not that surprising since it’s the world’s second-most populous country. The first country to reach that milestone, China, is the most populous.

Prime Minister Modi writes, “The journey from anxiety to assurance has happened and our nation has emerged stronger, thanks to the world’s largest vaccination drive’. This too is a hollow claim because China has already taken the more successful and far greater drive for a more populous country much before us. It is needed that there should be no VIP culture in the vaccination drive.”

In early 2020, when Covid-19 was rampaging across the world, it was clear to us that this pandemic will have to be eventually fought with the help of vaccines. We started preparing early. We constituted expert groups and started preparing a roadmap right from April 2020.

Till today, only a handful of countries have developed their own vaccines. More than 180 countries are dependent on an extremely limited pool of producers and dozens of nations are still waiting for the supply of vaccines, even as India has crossed 100 crore doses.

Imagine the situation if India did not have its own vaccine. It is here that credit should be given to Indian scientists and entrepreneurs for rising to the occasion. It is due to their talent and hard work that India is truly aatmanirbhar when it comes to opting for ‘Made in India’ vaccines. Today India gained access to the very exclusive club of nations that have administered 100 crore Covid -19 vaccine doses.

Dr. Ratan Bhattacharjee is a scholar and columnist. He can be reached at:

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