New Delhi, Aug 6 (IANS) More than half a billion doses of Covid-19 vaccines have been administered in the South-East Asia Region, with India being the highest, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Friday.
India has administered the maximum number of Covid vaccine doses -- 489 million -- in the region, said Dr. Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, WHO South-East Asia Region, in a statement.
Singh said that the countries in the region are scaling up efforts to rapidly expand coverage amid recurrent surge in cases and aim to achieve WHO's goal of having 10 per cent of the population fully vaccinated by September end, 40 per cent by the end of this year and 70 per cent by mid-2022".
In late May, WHO Chief Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus had called for global support for a "sprint to September", to enable every country to vaccinate at least 10 per cent of its population by the end of September.
"Countries across the Region are making unprecedented efforts to reach more and more people with life-saving Covid-19 vaccines demonstrating their commitment to contain the pandemic at the earliest. We must continue these and also, stringently implement public health and social measures," said Singh in the statement.
As of Friday, 618.5 million doses have been administered throughout the South-East Asia region and 146 million people have received two vaccine doses, Singh said.
Indonesia, which was the first in the region to launch Covid-19 vaccination drive, has administered 71 million doses, followed by 18 million doses in Thailand.
Sri Lanka has administered 13 million doses and has been consistently reaching out to 5,00,000 people per day with Covid-19 vaccination, recently.
Bangladesh is scaling up vaccination, and also preparing to vaccinate Rohingya refugees in Cox's Bazar.
Bhutan has achieved a coverage of 70 per 100 population with the first dose and 62 per 100 population with two doses of Covid-19 vaccine, the highest in the region so far.
Maldives has vaccinated half its population with two doses and nearly 60 per 100 coverage with one dose of Covid-19 vaccine.
Nepal has vaccinated more than 70 per cent of its health and frontline workers and elderly population with at least one dose of the vaccine.
Thailand has vaccinated 84 per cent of their health workforce, and Timor-Leste has vaccinated almost a quarter of its 100 population with one dose.
Nearly 90 per cent of all vaccine doses available in the region have been utilised, said Singh adding the need for a "tailored communication approach" for the increase in "uptake of vaccines and successful implementation of public health and social measures".