December    2021

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India jabs 1 billion citizens, “A giant leap for mankind”

Saturday,23 October 2021 02:07 PM IST

Anupama Nair


I was very excited when I heard the news 1 billion Indians has at least got one dosage. All this was possible because of our great Prime Minister and his able leadership, our doctors and front-line workers, and last but not least our research labs like Serum Institute that launched Covishield and Covaxin. Now nearly 75% of our population had at least 1 dose of the vaccine.

I feel vindicated when I was dancing with joy when Modi became the Prime Minister for the first time on May 26, 2014 and again in 2019. After Atal Behari Vajpayee he was the most charismatic Prime Minister after Independence. Hearing his speeches, I remembered the great orators like Netaji, Bhagat Singh and Veer Savarkar and I was inspired by them. Soon, the whole world was spell bound at Modi’s qualities, and what is surprising is he mostly spoke in Hindi everywhere in the world. Recently, he won the survey as the most popular leader in the world.

India achieved the historic milestone of completing 1 billion (100 crore) doses of the Covid-19 vaccine, nine months after it launched ‘the world’s biggest vaccination drive’. Hailing the feat, Modi, said that the country had ‘scripted history’. “We are witnessing the triumph of Indian science, enterprise and collective spirit of 130 crore Indians. Congratulations to India on crossing 100 crore vaccinations. Gratitude to our doctors, nurses and all those who worked to achieve this feat,” he tweeted. The Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya requested all those who are eligible to get vaccinated without any delay and contribute to the ‘historic journey’. A song by singer Kailash Kher and an audio-visual film will be launched at the Red Fort for the occasion. The largest national flag, weighing around 1,400 kg, will be unfurled at the Red Fort.

In recent months, life in our country has swung back to normal. Our markets are buzzing with activity, tourists are allowed to enter the country after a 19-month gap, and we are gearing up to celebrate Diwali. However, the doctors caution this could be just the lull before the storm. Even though India may have borne the brunt of the Delta variant already, things could escalate quickly if a new variant emerges, either from within the country or outside.

“If the virus becomes different or mutates, it changes the dynamics, and this could change everything,” said an expert. So, the message is we need to be careful. Wear a mask, sanitize your hands and still maintain social distancing.

However, the main concern is the disparity between the partially and fully vaccinated citizens, especially when India had already reported over 4,50,000 deaths, till now. The government is very much aware of this problem “and has called on states and union territories to focus on administering the second doses, and advised them to share strategies to close the gap”.

Many world leaders congratulated India on reaching this great milestone.

 “I applaud India’s successes in fighting Covid-19 at home and for its efforts to help end the pandemic in the Indo-Pacific region and well beyond,” said Antony Blinken, the US Secretary of State. Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, the President of Maldives expressed thanks to India for supporting the Maldives in its fight against Covid-19 and vaccination efforts.

“Congratulations to @narendramodi on leading India's successful Covid-19 vaccination campaign that has now administered more than 1 billion vaccines to the Indian people”, said Naftali Bennett the Prime Minister of Israel. He said “these life-saving vaccines were helping all defeat the global pandemic”.

Under ‘Vaccine Maitri’ India has so far delivered around 66.3 million doses of vaccines to 95 countries, including Canada, Britain, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Brazil, Nepal, South Africa, Ukraine and Bahrain.

Wavel Ramkalawan the president of Seychelles and Malawi President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera also congratulated India on its achievement of administering 1 billion vaccination doses.

“Congratulations, India, on this historic milestone! This impressive achievement brings the world closer to overcoming the pandemic. I salute the efforts of doctors, nurses and all frontline workers,” said Emmanuel Lenain, the Ambassador of France to India.

The Government of India plans to vaccinate all adults by the year-end. As they say “we have miles to go before we sleep….”

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