On March 1, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine kickstarting the second phase of the vaccination drive in India. The second phase aims to cover ten crore people across the country. It targets people above the age of 60 and those within the age bracket of 45 to 59 years with comorbidities.
The registration for the vaccination can be done online or people can walk into the selected COVID-19 centres and get themselves registered there. People have to carry their identity documents to get the shot. Also, people above 45 years have to present a medical certificate that highlights their comorbid conditions to receive the shot. The vaccination is being done for free at the government centres and at a capped cost of Rs 250 per shot at the private facilities.
India began its vaccination drive on January 16, 2021, covering health workers in the first phase. In early February, the vaccination plan was expanded to include frontline workers.
Two COVID-19 vaccines – Oxford-AstraZeneca’s Covishield manufactured by Serum Institute of India and Covaxin manufactured by Bharat Biotech – are being used to vaccinate.
Current Statistics (as of March 13, 2021)
Active Cases: 2 lakh+
Total Caseload: 1.13 crore+
No. of people vaccinated: 2.82 crore+
India’s Vaccine Diplomacy
India has been supplying Made-in-India COVID-19 vaccines to many countries, backed by its huge capacity to produce vaccines. The supplies to other countries are being undertaken in the form of grants, commercial sales by the manufacturers, and the Global COVAX Program. Beginning from Bhutan, Nepal, and the Maldives, close to 6 crore vaccine doses from India have reached 70 countries (as of March 11). Of this, the commercial sale of the vaccine is highest at 3.4 crore doses to 24 countries.
What is the Global COVAX Program?
The COVAX Program is being undertaken by a global alliance. It aims to supply over 2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines free of cost by the end of this year to middle and lower-income countries across the world that cannot afford the vaccines. Ghana became the first country to receive vaccines from India on February 23 under this program. India has supplied 1.6 crore doses to 29 countries under this program (as of March 11).