record doses

Indians lit earthen lamps on the occasion of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 71st birthday, in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, on Sept. 17. (ANI photo)

NEW DELHI — India officials say a record 21 million vaccine doses were given across the country in a special drive on Sept. 17, a birthday gift to Prime Minister Narendra Modi who turned 71.

India has vaccinated 770 million people, 20% fully vaccinated and 62% with single doses, according to the Health Ministry.

The ministry advised people to take precautions to avoid another deadly surge during the upcoming October-November festival season. India was hit by a devastating surge of infections from April to June this year, overwhelming hospital beds and oxygen supply in hospitals.

On Friday, India reported 34,403 new cases and 320 confirmed deaths

ANI adds from New Delhi: As India set a new record on Friday by administering over 2 crores COVID-19 vaccine doses, Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicated the success of the vaccination drive to the country's doctors, innovators, administrators, nurses, healthcare and all front-line workers.

"Every Indian would be proud of today's record vaccination numbers. I acknowledge our doctors, innovators, administrators, nurses, healthcare and all front-line workers who have toiled to make the vaccination drive a success. Let us keep boosting vaccination to defeat COVID-19," Modi tweeted.

The Bharatiya Janata Party and several state governments have aimed to make Modi's birthday historic by setting a record number of Covid vaccinations.

Taking to Twitter, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said that the historic feat is a gift to PM Modi on behalf of the health workers and the countrymen.

"#VaccineSeva A gift to Prime minister Narendra Modi on behalf of the health workers and the countrymen. Today, on his birthday, India has crossed the historical figure of administering 2 crore vaccines in a day, setting a new record. Well done India!" Mandaviya tweeted.

Union Minister Smriti Irani also tweeted on the occasion and said two crore vaccine doses in a day is India's gift to Modi.

India has administered more than one crore COVID-19 vaccines in a day on earlier occasions.

The vaccination drive in the country commenced on Jan. 16 with the inoculation of healthcare and frontline workers. At present, India is administering COVID-19 vaccines Covishield of Serum Institute of India, Bharat Biotech's Covaxin and Sputnik V.

To ramp up the drive, on April 1, the government had opened Covid-19 vaccination for everyone above the age of 45 years. A month later from May 1, as a part of the third phase of the vaccination drive, India began administering the vaccine in the 18 to 44 years age group.

Since then, the country's vaccination drive is scaling new heights. On Aug. 9, India's COVID-19 vaccination coverage crossed the landmark of 50 crores.

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