To be fair, China has administered almost twice as many doses, but it also did begin vaccinating its population much before any other country did - back in June 2020.
Coronavirus 100 crore vaccine doses: India reached the milestone of administering a total of 100 crore vaccine doses on a relatively uneventful day, when fewer than 80 lakh doses had been administered. It was not unique, per se, because India has matched this same number of doses in a single day on about 20 other occasions in the past, according to a report in IE. However, the achievement is still enormous since this is the fastest rate at which a vaccination drive has been undertaken not only in India, but likely across the world. To be fair, China has administered almost twice as many doses, but it also did begin vaccinating its population much before any other country did – back in June 2020 when they had not even conducted the Phase 3 trials.
Meanwhile, India only began the vaccination drive in the middle of January, during which there was a limited supply for the vaccine, especially due to the US decision to clamp down on the export of raw materials needed for the vaccine. This shortage was felt the most when India was dealing with the second wave of the pandemic, which was the worst phase of coronavirus witnessed anywhere in the world.
However, now the situation is completely different, with doses being available on demand. Moreover, the country has been administering about 50 to 60 lakh doses on most days.
Now, though, the country, while celebrating this achievement, might also remember that this is merely a milestone and not the end goal. India has to vaccinate its entire adult population – around 94 crore people – and as per that, it has only reached a little over the half-way mark as far as the number of total doses are concerned. At some point, the country will have to vaccinate the entire population, and vaccines for children under 18 years of age are only just being approved in the country. Hence, there is still a long way to go.
Apart from this, there are chances that booster doses might need to be administered in 2022, which is a possibility the country needs to be prepared for. India is set to vaccinate about 70% to 80% of its population by the time 2021 comes to end. However, it could also be the time by when people who received their doses in January or February might begin to lose their immunity. While there has not yet been any discussion around the frequency and the timing of the booster doses yet, chances are high that India would need to repeat the cycle of vaccinating everyone next year as well.
Moreover, the government as well as the people also need to remember that vaccination is a weapon that would work only if other measures like masks and social distancing are followed simultaneously. While vaccines have somewhat allowed for normal lives to continue, if protocol is not followed, it might undo everything that the country has been able to gain against COVID-19.