PM launches India’s vaccination drive against COVID-19
New Delhi/Srinagar, Jan 16 (PTI) Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday launched India’s COVID-19 vaccination drive and asserted that the made-in-India vaccines being rolled out will ensure a “decisive victory” for the country over the coronavirus pandemic.
Addressing the nation ahead of the launch, Modi reminded people that two doses of vaccine are very important and asked them to maintain wearing masks and social distancing even after receiving the jabs.
“‘Dawai bhi, kadai bhi,” he said.
During his speech, Modi turned emotional as he spoke of the disruption the pandemic caused to people’s lives, isolating victims of the coronavirus and denying the dead traditional last rites.
In a choked voice, the prime minister also referred to sacrifices made by healthcare and frontline workers, hundreds of whom lost their lives to the viral infection.
He also urged the country to show patience during the vaccination drive as it had shown till now in fighting the pandemic.
Normally, it takes years to make a vaccine but in such a short span of time, not one, but two ‘Made in India’ vaccines are ready, Modi said, adding work on other vaccines is also progressing at a fast pace.
India getting two vaccines in such a short time is a testimony to the talent and skills of the nation’s scientists’, the prime minister said.
“Our vaccination programme is driven by humanitarian concerns, those exposed to maximum risk will get priority,” he said.
Modi said that scientists and experts have given permission for emergency use of the made-in-India vaccines only after being absolutely sure of their safety and the people should be aware of any propaganda and rumours.
The made-in-India vaccines will ensure a “decisive victory” for the country over the coronavirus pandemic, he asserted.
Modi also asked people to guard against complacency and follow the mantra ‘Dawaai bhi, kadaai bhi’ (referring to vaccines as well as strict compliance with COVID-appropriate behaviour).
The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) had earlier this month approved Oxford COVID-19 vaccine Covishield, manufactured by the Serum Institute, and indigenously developed Covaxin of Bharat Biotech for restricted emergency use in the country, paving the way for a massive inoculation drive.
This will be the world’s largest vaccination programme covering the entire length and breadth of the country.
According to the government, the shots will be offered first to an estimated one crore healthcare workers, and around two crore frontline workers, and then to persons above 50 years of age, followed by persons younger than 50 years of age with associated comorbidities.
Cost of vaccination of healthcare and frontline workers will be borne by the central government.
Meanwhile, the COVID-19 vaccination drive began in Delhi with healthcare workers, who were at the forefront of the fight against the pandemic, getting the first shots.
Doctors, nurses and healthcare workers were vaccinated at AIIMS hospital.
A doctor, a nurse and a sanitation worker will be given the shot later in the day in the presence of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal at LNJP Hospital, sources had said on Friday.
According to the Chief Minister’s Office, Kejriwal will visit the hospital at 12 noon.
Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain is also expected to join him.
Doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers of the LNJP Hospital, Delhi’s largest state-run facility, had rendered yeoman service last year in the collective battle against the deadly virus.
The vaccination exercise will span 81 sites across all 11 districts. Six central government hospitals — AIIMS, Safdarjung Hospital, RML Hospital, Kalawati Saran Children Hospital and two ESI hospitals — are also part of the drive.
Besides LNJP Hospital, Delhi-government run GTB Hospital, Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality Hospital, DDU Hospital, BSA Hospital, Delhi State Cancer Institute, ILBS Hospital are among the vaccination sites.
Private facilities Max Hospital, Fortis Hospital, Apollo Hospital and Sir Ganga Ram Hospital are also part of the inoculation drive.
In Kashmir valley Director SKIMS Dr Ahangar was administered the first dose at the hospital.