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Health workers wait in line to receive the Covid-19 vaccine in Mumbai, India on January 16.
Health workers wait in line to receive the Covid-19 vaccine in Mumbai, India on January 16. Fariha Farooqui/Xinhua/Getty Images

More than 200,000 people were vaccinated against coronavirus on the first day of India’s nationwide vaccination drive on Saturday, the country’s Health Ministry announced in a news release on Sunday.

According to the ministry, the total is “much higher than many other countries such as the USA, the UK, and France.”

As of Sunday, India has vaccinated a total of 224,301 people, and to date 447 adverse events following immunization have been reported, of which three patients were hospitalized. 

“Protocols are in place for reporting, immediate case management at vaccination session site, transportation and hospitalization, and further care of such cases,” the release added. 

Indian Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan on Sunday congratulated states on a successful vaccine rollout. 

“Our Prime Minister has been in constant contact with the state chief ministers … we have developed a common timeline and plan according to which we are all working … we need to stick to the plan to meet our targets,” Vardhan said. 

India has reported more than 10.5 million Covid-19 cases, including 152,419 deaths, according to the Health Ministry on Monday.

Some context: India is embarking on one of the world’s most ambitious mass immunization programs ever undertaken, with the country of 1.35 billion planning to inoculate 300 million frontline workers, elderly and vulnerable people by August.

Earlier this month, Indian drug regulators gave the go ahead for two coronavirus vaccines, one developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, and the other conceived locally by Bharat Biotech and a government-run institute.