Special Content

Issue no 32, 06-12 November 2021

100 Crore Covid – 19 Vaccine Doses Administered

India witnessed the triumph of science, enterprise and collective spirit of 130 crore Indians when the country achieved the landmark milestone of administering 100 crore COVID-19 vaccinations in one of the world's largest and fastest vaccination drives.

The journey of administering 100 crore 'Made in India' vaccines - Covaxin and Covishield - to the citizens of India started on January 16, 2021 under the leadership of Hon'ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi. Since the dawn of the pandemic, India has shown its commitment to protecting its citizens by taking on this arduous and formidable task involving enormous resources, unstinted support of the States/UTs, untiring efforts of Health Care Workers, Front Line Workers and proactive participation of all stakeholders. Immunization programme was being implemented in India, as in other countries, in a phased manner to cover the healthcare providers, frontline workers and the most vulnerable.

100 crore vaccine doses is an unprecedented accomplishment, and the world applauds India. Let's take a look at the journey of India's vaccination achievement. Here are the highlights:

29 November, 2020: The Government of India announced the third stimulus package of Rs. 900 Crore for the Mission COVID Suraksha - The Indian COVID-19 Vaccine Development Mission. This grant was to be provided to the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) for the Research & Development of Indian COVID-19 vaccines.

The important objectives of the fund were accelerating pre-clinical & clinical development; licensure of COVID-19 vaccine candidates that were currently in clinical stages or ready to enter the clinical stage of development, establishing clinical trial sites, and strengthening the existing immunoassay laboratories, central laboratories and suitable facilities for animal studies, production facilities and other testing facilities to support COVID-19 vaccine development. The other important objective was to support the development of common harmonized protocols, training, data management systems, regulatory submissions, internal and external quality management systems and accreditations.

3 January, 2021: Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) granted approval to vaccines of Serum Institute India (Covishield) and Bharat Biotech (Covaxin). M/s Serum Institute of India, Pune presented a Recombinant Chimpanzee adenovirus vector vaccine (Covishield) encoding the SARS-CoV-2 Spike (S) glycoprotein with technology transfer from AstraZeneca/Oxford University. M/s Bharat Biotech developed a Whole Virion Inactivated Corona Virus Vaccine (Covaxin) in collaboration with ICMR and NIV (Pune), from where they received the virus seed strains.

16 January, 2021: Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched pan India rollout of the first phase of COVID-19 vaccination drive. In the first phase of the drive, Healthcare Workers were prioritised. This marked the world's largest vaccination program, covering the entire length and breadth of the country. The Prime Minister said that usually it takes years to prepare a vaccine but here in India, in such a short time, not one but two made-in-India vaccine were launched.

2 February, 2021: Vaccination of the Frontline Workers (FLWs) started.

19 February, 2021: India crossed a landmark milestone - more than 1 crore vaccine doses administered against COVID-19. It took India 34 days to achieve the landmark feat, the second fastest in the world.

1 March, 2021: Commencement of the next phase of COVID-19 vaccination for those were are over 60 years of age and for people aged 45 and above with specified co-morbidities. The Prime Minister also took his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at AIIMS New Delhi. In a tweet, he said, "Took my first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at AIIMS. Remarkable how our doctors and scientists have worked in quick time to strengthen the global fight against COVID-19. I appeal to all those who are eligible to take the vaccine. Together, let us make India COVID-19 free!"

10 April 2021: India becomes the fastest country to administer 100 million (10 crore) doses of COVID-19 vaccine. India achieved the feat in 85 days.

13 April, 2021: Russia's Sputnik V approved for emergency use in India. Government authorises foreign-produced COVID vaccines with emergency approval of WHO-listed agencies

30 April 2021: Drone use permission granted to ICMR for study of Vaccine delivery using drones and conditional exemption to the Government of Telangana for conducting experimental Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) drone flights for delivery of vaccines.

1 May, 2021: The Liberalised and Accelerated Phase-3 Strategy of COVID19 Vaccination came into force.

13 May, 2021: The gap between two doses of Covishield Vaccine extended from 6-8 weeks to 12-16 weeks based on recommendation of COVID Working Group chaired by Dr N K Arora. Based on the available real-life evidences, particularly from UK, the COVID-19 Working Group agreed for increasing the dosing interval to 12-16 weeks between two doses of Covishield vaccine. 

2 July, 2021: Pregnant Women became eligible for COVID-19 Vaccination after Dr. N.K. Arora's, Chairperson of the COVID-19 Working Group of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI), recommendations. 2.27 lakh pregnant women received COVID-19 Vaccines in less than a month (till 30 July, 2021).

13 August, 2021: First nasal vaccine developed by Bharat Biotech supported by Department of Biotechnology, Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (DBT-BIRAC) gets nod of regulator for Phase 2 Trial. Bharat Biotech's intranasal vaccine was the first nasal vaccine that received the regulatory approval for Phase 2 trials. BBV154 is an intranasal replication-deficient chimpanzee adenovirus SARS-CoV-2 vectored vaccine. BBIL has in-licensed technology from Washington University in St Louis, USA.

20 August, 2021: Zydus Cadila received approval for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the DCGI for ZyCoV-D, the world's first and India's indigenously developed DNA-based vaccine for COVID-19 to be administered in humans including Children 12 years and above. Developed in partnership with the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India under the 'Mission COVID Suraksha' and implemented by BIRAC, ZyCoV-D has been supported under COVID-19 Research Consortia through National Biopharma Mission for Preclinical studies, Phase I and Phase II Clinical Trials and under the Mission COVID Suraksha for Phase III Clinical Trial. 

13 September, 2021: India's cumulative COVID-19 vaccination Coverage exceeds 75 crore shots

17 September, 2021: Highest ever vaccination figure of 2.5 crore doses administered in a single day making India's Cumulative COVID-19 Vaccination Coverage cross the 79 crore mark.

4 October, 2021: Shri Mansukh Mandaviya, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare launched ICMR's Drone Response and Outreach in North East (iDrone). This is a delivery model to make sure that life-saving vaccines reach everyone. First time in South Asia, a "Make in India' drone used to transport COVID-19 vaccines over an aerial distance of 15 kms in 12-15 min.

15 October, 2021: Himachal Pradesh's Kinnaur becomes the first fully vaccinated district in the country.

21 October 2021: 100 crore mark reached.


Compiled by Annesha Banerjee & Anuja Bhardwajan

Source: PIB