Nearly 16 lakh people have been vaccinated since January 16, when the mass inoculation drive against COVID-19 was launched, with 10 lakh taking vaccine shots in just six days, a count which is higher than that of countries like the US and the UK, the Health Ministry said today.
The UK took 18 days whereas the US took 10 days to reach the 10 lakh mark, the government said.
15.82 lakh people have been vaccinated in 27,920 sessions so far, of which 1.91 lakh people were vaccinated on Saturday (in 3,512 sessions) alone, according to the Health Ministry.
Recalling the launch of world's #LargestVaccineDrive- Dr Harsh Vardhan (@drharshvardhan) January 24, 2021
With 15L+ vaccinated within the 1st 8 days itself, the drive is smoothly progressing ahead!
Don't pay heed to rumours. Stay informed, stay safe & when your time comes, get vaccinated!#Unite2FightCoronapic.twitter.com/HRoNxz9UQj
A total of 1,238 adverse events have been recorded so far which is 0.08% of the total vaccinations, the government said, adding that 11 persons or 0.0007% of the people who were vaccinated have been hospitalised.
The Union Health Ministry on Saturday said that six healthcare workers, who were inoculated, have died so far but added that none of these deaths were related to the Covid vaccinations.
After a sluggish start in the first week, India's vaccination numbers have gradually picked up with nearly 3.5 lakh healthcare workers getting vaccinated on day 7.
The increase in numbers is also because of modifications made in the CoWin database to allow walk-in vaccinations, i.e those healthworkers who are not slotted for a certain date can also come and get vaccinated.
Hospitals across Delhi reported impressive numbers on Saturday. The national capital vaccinated 6,957 of its intended beneficiaries or 86% of state's daily target of 8,100 beneficiaries at 81 vaccination sites on the day. There was 100 per cent vaccination in four big hospitals of Delhi government. 100 beneficiaries were vaccinated at each of these sites- LNJP hospital, Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality Hospital, GTB Hospital and Delhi State Cancer Institute.
Dr Renu Gupta, a Microbiologist, was one of the walk-in-beneficiaries at the Rajiv Gandhi Hospital on Saturday. "I did not receive an SMS but I felt that this is a good opportunity and I should get vaccinated at the soonest. They told me they will accomodate me. My turn may have come 4 to 5 days later but it is best to get vaccinated as early as possible. We need to be protected first in order to protect others, that is why healthcare workers have to get vaccinated first," she said.
Dr Shubham, a Neuro Physiotherapist said, "I just got vaccinated. I would tell every healthcare worker to come forward too. It is your duty and professional responsibility. If you do not get vaccinated as a healthcare worker what message will you send to the general public? They already have so many myths and queries on Covaxin and even generally about the safety of vaccines. Its crucial for us to get vaccinated".
Authorities say that a better turnout also helps in reducing wastage. Dr Chavi Gupta, Spokesperson of Rajiv Gandhi Superspeciality Hospital said, "The walk in beneficiaries system has helped us a lot. If enough people do not turn up for vaccination then it is also a wastage of manpower because we have people deployed at the vaccination site from 9AM to 5 PM. Secondly, once a vial is opened then the 10 doses in it have to be used in the next 4 hours. If only 6 or 7 people come then the remaining 3-4 doses end up turning into waste. If more people come it helps us in reducing dosage wastage also."
Dr Gupta added that the initiative by senior doctors to get vaccinated has also encouraged others to come forward. "In the last 3-4 days the turnout for the day had come down to single digit figures. But all heads of departments as well as all senior officials came to get vaccinated and that has motivated other junior colleagues and staff. They felt encouraged. On Saturday, since morning only we were in a hectic mode while managing the vaccination site as people kept queuing up."
India on Saturday also started commercial export of Covid vaccines. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for providing two million doses of COVID-19 vaccines and said his country felt honoured to have a great partner to overcome a global obstacle by joining efforts.
He also shared a picture of Lord Hanuman lifting the Govardhan mountain to deliver ''Sanjeevni booti'' .Brazil is the second worst affected country by coronavirus after the United States .Prime Minister Narendra Modi replied by saying that India will continue to strengthen the cooperation on healthcare.
Apart from Brazil, Covid vaccines are also being sent to Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Morocco, Bangladesh and Myanmar.
India had earlier sent vaccines to seven neighbouring countries as aid, under a grant assistance programme called "Vaccine Maitri".
On Saturday, the World Health Organisation also thanked India. "Thank you #India and Prime Minister @narendramodi for your continued support to the global #COVID19 response. Only if we #ACTogether, including sharing of knowledge, can we stop this virus and save lives and livelihoods," WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus tweeted.