As daily illnesses reached a four-month high, the Indian government’s COVID-19 immunizations reached 2 billion on Sunday. Booster doses are currently being administered to all people.
The world’s largest and longest-running immunization program, which started last year, was celebrated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he praised the vaccination milestone.
“India creates history again!” Modi said in a tweet. The prime minister has faced allegations from the opposition of mishandling the pandemic that experts claim killed millions. The government rejects the claims.
Health ministry data shows the COVID death toll at 525,709, with 49 deaths recorded overnight.
New cases rose 20,528 over the past 24 hours, the highest since Feb. 20, according to data compiled by Reuters.
The country of 1.35 billion people has lifted most COVID-related restrictions, and international travel has recovered robustly.
Some 80% of the inoculations have been the AstraZeneca vaccine made domestically, called Covishield. Others include domestically developed Covaxin and Corbevax, and Russia’s Sputnik V.
The federal government has been accelerating its booster campaign to avert the spread of infections, edging higher in the eastern states of Assam, West Bengal and Karnataka in the south.