2021-09-17 20:55:00 India Gives 25 Million Covid Vaccine Shots on Modi’s Birthday

India Gives 25 Million Covid Vaccine Shots on Modi’s Birthday

On Friday, India’s massive effort to vaccinate its vast population against Covid-19 reached a new milestone: Its health ministry reported that a record 25 million shots were administered throughout the day, as part of a special push to commemorate Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s birthday and his 20 years in office.

According to the Our World in Data Project at Oxford University, this is more than two and a half times the previous daily record of 9.3 million shots set on Sept. 2 and more than seven times the level reported three months ago.

Leaders of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party said that states under their control had long planned to maximize a vaccination campaign as a birthday gift for Mr. Modi, who turned 71 on Friday.

Mansukh Mandaviya, India’s federal health minister, wrote on Twitter, “Good health is indeed wealth and a great way to celebrate PM @NarendraModi ji’s birthday.” Videos of the prime minister were circulated in which he was seen handing out candy to health workers.

Although inoculating a population of 1.4 billion people spread from the Himalayas to the coasts was always going to be difficult, India has administered over 793 million vaccine shots through a drive that had major setbacks in its early stages. In recent weeks, the campaign has gained significant traction.

Every day, over 30,000 new Covid-19 cases are reported in the country. With over 33 million reported cases during the pandemic, India ranks second only to the United States, and India was the third country to surpass 400,000 deaths. Scientists generally believe that the official figures vastly underestimate the toll.

According to a government database, the eastern state of Bihar, which has an estimated 127 million people and is one of the poorest regions in the country, gave 2.9 million shots on Friday, more than any other state.

Civic authorities in Mumbai, India’s financial capital, organized a special vaccination drive for women, and many women lined up for shots.

Officials from the Ministry of Health say they plan to give out over a billion shots by mid-October. According to Our World in Data, China, the only other country with a population of more than a billion people, has already far surpassed that figure, reporting 2.16 billion shots.

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India Gives 25 Million Covid Vaccine Shots on Modi's Birthday