As India has vaccinated nearly 4.85 crore beneficiaries against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) till now, Union health minister Dr Harsh Vardhan said on Tuesday that the country was conducting vaccinations at the fastest rate. Addressing the Lok Sabha, Vardhan said, “Vaccine doses administered in India in a single day amount to 30-40% of the doses given across the world during the same time period.”
Citing Monday’s vaccination data, Vardhan said that 32,53,095 beneficiaries were vaccinated in the last 24 hours. The health minister also informed the lower house of Parliament that more than 2.2 crore beneficiaries above the age of 60 were inoculated in a short period of time since the start of the second phase in March.
The Centre launched the first phase of the nationwide vaccination drive from January 16, where all healthcare and frontline workers were inoculated against the disease. Under the second phase, which started from March 1, doses are being administered to people above the age of 60 and those between 45-59 with specific co-morbidities. According to the health ministry’s data at 7am, around 4,06,31,153 beneficiaries have been administered the first dose while 78,63,441 have received both doses. Five states – Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, West Bengal – have vaccinated the highest number of beneficiaries in the country, the data showed.
India on Tuesday recorded 40,715 new Covid-19 disease cases and 199 related fatalities in the last 24 hours, taking the caseload and death toll to over 1.168 crores and 160,166 respectively. The active cases have climbed to 345,377 while 1,11,81,253 people have recovered till now.
With the daily cases in the country spiking since February, several states requested the Centre to remove or reduce the age limit for getting vaccine doses so that more citizens can be inoculated as quickly as possible. Keeping this in mind, Union minister Prakash Javadekar announced on Tuesday that from April 1, all those above the age of 45- with or without co-morbidities – will be allowed to take the vaccine. The decision was taken on the basis of scientific advice, Javadekar said.