India completed complete 1 billion (100 crore) doses of the Covid-19 vaccine today, nine months after it launched “the world’s biggest vaccination drive”, with the government planning a mega celebration for the “great achievement”. | Around 75 percent of all adults have received the first dose of the vaccine and 31 percent have been administered both the doses. Among the states, Uttar Pradesh has administered the highest vaccine doses, followed by Maharashtra and Gujarat.
As we reached the 1 billion mark, here are some unique ways in which we achieved the feat:
Meet Dhanmoni Bora. An e-rickshaw driver, Bora had tied up with a local NGO to vaccinate people in Guwahati. She takes her e-rickshaw to a dispensary in the morning to load her vehicle with the medical supplies required for the vaccinations. She also has a loudspeaker attached to her vehicle in which, which she plays her favourite Zubeen Garg’s theme song on Covid-19 vaccination.
“The schedule is fixed the day before and the locality is chosen. My team includes ASHA workers and a member from the NGO. We camp at a local club or pharmacy and operate out of the rickshaw. Till now, we have vaccinated almost 2,500 people. I have visited around 30 elderly people at their residences where they were unable to come to the vaccination centres on their own,” she told News18.
Drive-in Jab for elderly
Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) of Maharashtra had set up an effective way of conducting a quick vaccination process by setting up a drive-in inoculation centre. The civic body in May launched the city’s first drive-in vaccination centre where specially-abled people and senior citizens can get vaccine doses while sitting in a vehicle, without standing in a queue. As many as 417 persons were administered Covid-19 vaccine jabs on the first day.
A video went viral in July where a team of health workers was seen crossing a knee-deep river to reach a remote village in Jammu and Kashmir’s Rajouri to organise a Covid-19 vaccination drive. Dr Iram Yasmin, in charge of Tralla Health Centre shared a video that showed a few health workers crossing a river to conduct door-to-door COVID-19 vaccination in the district’s Tralla village.
“We have received orders from higher authorities to vaccinate the people of the block by reaching them door to door. It was very difficult but our health workers had successfully fulfilled their duties by crossing rivers, mountains, and many more obstacles. They reached to people to vaccine them,” Dr Yasmin told ANI.
16 grazers in Arunachal Pradesh’s Tawang district missed their chance at getting vaccinated back on May 19 when they had to be away to graze their yaks. Almost two months later, a team of health officials trekked for 9 hours and reached 14,000 feet above mean sea level to reach the homes of these grazers in a bid to vaccinate them.
The officials climbed the mountain range from a place called Thingbu Hydel. Luguthang village is one of the farthest villages that lie in the Tawang district and is close to Tibet’s border.
Beedi worker donates life savings
In a heartwarming gesture, a differently-abled beedi roller from Kerala’s Kannur district donated Rs 2 lakh to the chief minister’s disaster relief fund (CMDRF) in April to help the state roll out a free vaccination drive. Although the donation left him with only Rs 850, Janardhanan said that he has no regrets.
When he went to the bank to donate the money, even the bank official was taken by surprise. On being asked that how he would survive with this less money, Janardhanan said that he still has an earning as a beedi roller and also draw his differently-abled monthly pension from the government. According to him, people’s lives are bigger than his savings and money, so he ought to help those who cannot afford the vaccine.
Keralam CM Pinarayi Vijayan had shared Janardhanan’s gesture through a tweet.
Many heart warming stories are coming up about donations to the CMDRF, including that of an elderly man who donated 2L from his savings bank account which had Rs. 200,850 in it. It is this love for one another that sets us apart. Once again, thank each and every one of you!
— Pinarayi Vijayan (@vijayanpinarayi) April 24, 2021
Friends force vaccine-hesitant man to get jabbed
While we have reached the 1 billion milestone with the eagerness of our citizens to get vaccinated, there have been several instances of vaccine hesitancy throughout the vaccination drive. A video made rounds on social media last month that featured a group of men pursuing their reluctant friend to take the jab.
Although they initially try to talk him through the process and encourage him to take shots, when they see that words aren’t having any effect on him and he is still trying to avoid the medical staff, the men firmly pin their friend down and get him vaccinated. The clip which was apparently from the Bundelkhand region in Madhya Pradesh was shared online by Twitter user @anilscribe.
#वेक्सीन लगाना/लगवाना कितना मुश्किल काम है!
Rcvd on WA pic.twitter.com/W7FHZMPgJg
— Aniil Dubey (@anilscribe) September 21, 2021
Vaccine on boats
In July, several parts of Bihar reeled under floods due to heavy rains. Despite the floods, the government made sure that the vaccination drive continued in the water-logged areas. In an image shared by the Union Health Ministry on Twitter, one of the ‘dedicated boats’ to ensure Covid-19 vaccination called “vaccines in boats” was seen in a flood-affected area in Muzaffarpur.
The Centre had planned a lavish celebration once India crossed the historic milestone, and had requested state governments to trace those who have not received even a single dose along with those with pending second doses – on priority.