In a record-breaking effort to mark Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s 71st birthday, India administered more than 25 million Covid vaccine jabs in a day on Friday.
This vaccination number is equal to the entire population of Australia (25.77 million), five times the population of New Zealand (5.09 million) and 25 times the population of Fiji (0.9 million).
PM Modi is also celebrating another milestone – 20 years in public office.
Since October 2001, PM Modi has been the head of a democratically elected government for straight 7,285 days.
In these 20 years of public service, PM Modi has also gone on to become one of the most popular leaders in the world with an approval rating of 70%.
The Morning Consult, an American data intelligence firm, tracks the approval rating for governmental leaders in Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, South Korea, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.
According to their graph, PM Modi’s approval rating reached a peak during May 2021.
This was the time when India was not only fighting a deadly second wave of Covid but also a deep-rooted and malicious misinformation campaign run by vested interests from both inside and outside India.
Mr Mansukh Mandaviya, the Minister for Health & Family Welfare of India, wrote on Twitter:
“Good health is indeed wealth and a great way to celebrate PM @NarendraModi ji’s birthday. My compliments to you for getting vaccinated and encouraging others to be a part of #VaccINESEVA.”
The countrywide vaccination drive in India was rolled in three phases earlier this year with healthcare workers (January), frontline workers (February), people over 60 years of age (March), and people over 45 years of age (April).
India has also given a boost to the ongoing vaccination programme by approving its first vaccine for those under 18 years of age (May onwards).
At present, India is using three key vaccines: the Oxford- AstraZeneca (also known as Covishield), Covaxin (made by Indian firm Bharat Biotech, and Sputnik V (Russian vaccine).
In addition, the Indian government has also authorised pharma company Cipla to import the Moderna vaccine.
Most countries in the developing world have struggled to access vaccines.
India under the guidance and leadership of PM Modi has also gifted more than 66 million doses to 95 countries under its Vaccine Maitri initiative.
Taking to Twitter, well-known scholar Prof. Ananda Ranganathan said:
“Wait, what. 12.2 million vaccinated in 6 hours and more than half a day still to go. Forget New Zealand, we now have in sight vaccinating the equivalent of an Australia today – 25 million. This is PHENOMENAL. Congratulations to all involved. Congratulations to @narendramodi.”
The daily vaccinations in India have crossed the 10 million mark for the fourth time in less than a month.
This new record is more than two and a half times its previous daily record which was 13 million shots set on 27 August 2021.
Recently, a senior Biden administration official was even quoted as telling Reuters that the US, which is lagging behind in vaccination, is communicating regularly with PM Modi and may enquire about a timeline for restarting vaccine exports from India.
With its ever-increasing vaccination numbers, India has already eclipsed Europe (777 million), North America (593 million) and South America (403 million).
India has now given more than 790 million doses and ministry officials are confident and plan to administer over a billion shots by mid-October 2021.
PM Modi in his acknowledgement tweet thanked the people and all healthcare and front-line workers for making India’s vaccination drive a success.