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'India Vaccinating People In Billions, Higher Than Most Countries': Co-WIN Chief RS Sharma

RS Sharma noted that India has undertaken the COVID-19 vaccination drive on a scale of billions of people, making it the most complex factor of all

Update: Subsequent to the interview, the Health Minister has updated that registrations for people over 18 years of age will begin on April 28


Amid a tremendous surge in COVID-19 infections in the country, the Centre has given a green light for vaccination of citizens above 18 years of age from May 1. Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan has informed that registration for the same will soon begin on the government's Co-WIN website. 

Co-WIN app Chief and Chairman of the empowered panel of COVID-19 vaccination RS Sharma on Thursday spoke exclusively to Republic Media Network's Executive Editor Niranjan Narayanaswamy, on the next phase of India's vaccination drive. During the conversation, Sharma shed light on the scale of the vaccination drive undertaken by the Government of India to protect billions of citizens from contracting the deadly virus.

Sharma noted that India has undertaken the vaccination drive on a scale of billions of people, making it the most complex factor of all.

“Fortunately, we have been carrying out large-scale operations for many years,” he said. “For example, while issuing Aadhar cards to the citizens, we were enrolling over 2 million people per day and sending all that data in real-time at the end of each day. Similarly, when implementing Unified Payments Interface (UPI), we have recorded 4 billion transactions in the month of January this year.”

Sharma stated that when India builds something, it builds on a large scale and the Co-WIN platform is no exception. India has administered over 13.23 Crore doses so far, of which 30 lakh doses were administered in the last 24 hours itself. The Centre on Monday announced a liberalized vaccine policy, making all adults above 18 years of age eligible for getting vaccines from May 1.

Under the third phase of the vaccination drive commencing next month, manufacturers would be free to supply 50% doses to state governments and in the open market by making an advance declaration of the price before May 1. The Serum Institute of India on Wednesday announced a price of Rs 400 per dose for its COVID-19 vaccine 'Covishield' for state governments and Rs 600 per dose for private hospitals.

COVID-19 in India

India on Thursday recorded over 3.14 lakh new infections pushing the country's tally to 1,59,30,965, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Thursday. 3,14,835 fresh infections were registered in a span of 24 hours, while the death toll increased to 1,84,657 with a record 2,104 new fatalities, the data updated at 8 am showed.  The active cases have increased to 22,91,428 comprising 14.38 per cent of the total infections, while the national COVID-19 recovery rate has dropped to 84.46 per cent. The number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 1,34, 54,880. The case fatality rate has further dropped to 1.16 per cent, the data stated.

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