New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday interacted with domestic manufacturers of COVID-19 vaccines as India became the second country in the world after China to administer more than 100 crore anti-coronavirus doses. During his meeting, PM Modi discussed various issues, including furthering the vaccine research, and praised the efforts of manufacturers for helping India cross the milestone of 100 crore vaccinations.

Appreciating their hard work, PM Modi said that the manufacturers "played a big role in the success story of India". He also exhorted that India needs to institutionalise the best practices learnt during the pandemic, saying it is "an opportunity to modify practises in tune with the global standards".

"He said that the entire world is looking up to India, in the backdrop of the success of the vaccination drive. He also said that the vaccine manufacturers should continuously work together to be ready to face future challenges," the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) said in a release.

Meanwhile, the vaccine manufacturers appreciated PM Modi's "vision and dynamic leadership" and thanked him for his guidance and support. They also praised how the Centre and the medical industry collaborated during the pandemic to launch the biggest vaccination drive against COVID-19 in the world.

The vaccine manufacturers "noted that had the country been following old norms, there would have been considerable delay and we would not have been able to reach the vaccination level that we have attained till now," the PMO said.

Following the meeting, Serum Institute of India's Adar Poonawalla credited PM Modi's vision for the milestone and said they discussed how to take the industry forward and prepare for future pandemics, to continue enhancing the capacity. "All over the world now, countries are going to invest in vaccine production and India needs to stay ahead. We discussed how to do that together with industry and government," he said.

His father Cyrus Poonawalla said, "Had it not been for him (Modi) and (he) driving the health ministry, today India would not have been able to make a billion doses. There is no doubt in my mind about that."

Meanwhile, Pankaj Patel of Zydus said that PM Modi was the "biggest factor" in the development of the DNA-based COVID vaccine. He praised PM Modi for his encouragement and support and also for mentioning the DNA vaccine at his address at the United Nations.

Bharat Biotech's Krishna Illa, on the other hand, said that reaching the milestone of 100 crore doses was not easy but PM Modi was determined to make it and he converted all the initial "negativity" into an opportunity. "He made it happen. I think that is the greatest thing a leader can do for any country," Ella said.

Bharat Biotech's Joint Managing Director Suchitra Ella, who was also present in the meeting, thanked PM Modi for the interaction. "Thanks to PMO for the invitation, thought-provoking interaction and insights to make Indian biopharma companies prepare ahead for leadership in global innovation and manufacturing," she tweeted.

More than 75 per cent of India's adult population has received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, with nine states and union territories administering the first dose to all eligible people. Over 31 per cent of the country's around 93 crore adults have been administered both doses, according to Union Health Ministry.

So far, all adult population in nine states and union territories -- Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Chandigarh, Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Lakshadweep, Sikkim, Uttarakhand and Dadra and Nagar Haveli -- have received at least one dose of the Covid vaccine. Three vaccines -- Covishield manufactured by Serum Institute of India, Bharat Biotech's Covaxin and Sputnik V -- are currently being used in the country's Covid vaccination drive.

(With inputs from PTI)

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma