India’s vaccination drive has achieved another milestone as 50% of the eligible population is now fully vaccinated against corona virus disease (Covid-19), the Union health ministry said last Sunday. The vaccination coverage in the country has exceeded 01 billion doses as per the provisional reports released by the ministry of health and family welfare recently.

The health ministry said in a statement that the government is committed to accelerating the pace and expanding the scope of vaccination throughout the country. “The vaccination drive has been ramped up through availability of more vaccines, advance visibility of vaccine availability to States and UTs for enabling better planning by them, and streamlining the vaccine supply chain,” it added.

The nationwide Covid vaccination started on January 16 with the Covishield vaccine, a version of AstraZeneca’s Covid vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute of India. The coverage entered a new phase of universalisation in June after the second wave of the Covid pandemic claimed thousands of lives and strained the health infrastructure across the country. The vaccination milestone came at a time when many countries including India have reported cases of Omicron variant first detected in South Africa.