India reported 2 billion cumulative Covid-19 vaccinations on 17th July, going past a global milestone in the ongoing battle against the pandemic. The country has now achieved a record 97 per cent first-dose coverage, while 90 per cent of its adult population has received both doses of the vaccine.

Around 0.49 million doses were given on 17th July, taking cumulative vaccinations to 2,00,03,73,288. The country is currently running a special 75-day vaccination drive in which the third, precaution dose is being administered for free at all government vaccinations centres.

Two important features of India’s immunisation coverage — which constitute very significant steps to address vaccine inequity — are, first, 74% of vaccination centres have been set up in rural India and 71% of the vaccination coverage has been reported from rural areas and, second, 51.1% of recipients are women.

India’s vaccination drive — the world’s largest — was rolled out on January 16, 2021, and coverage was progressively expanded in seven phases based on the principle of prioritisation of vulnerable population groups.

On January 3 this year, India also started administering Covid-19 vaccines to children: 51 million teens in the age group 15-18 years, and 26.2 million adolescents ages 12-14 are now fully vaccinated. The drugs regulator has approved vaccines for children younger than 12 as well; however, the expert body of the government is yet to take a decision on rolling out jabs for this age group.