Covid-19: The fight begins
PM launches India's vaccination drive
New Delhi: 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 coronavirus vaccination drive started in Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday, with nearly 2,000 healthcare workers, including prominent doctors, given jabs in the Valley, an official said.
Forty centres — 20 each in two divisions — across Jammu and Kashmir started the vaccination drive after Prime Minister Narendra Modi kick-started it across the country in the morning, the official said.
A G Ahangar — the director of the SKIMS, the premier tertiary care hospital in Srinagar — received the first shot at the centre, State Immunisation Officer Qazi Haroon said.
About 4,000 healthcare workers will receive the shot in the first phase and 100 people each will be given shots at these centres, Haroon told PTI.
A lot of doctors, including heads of institutions, several heads of departments and chief medical officers of various districts, received the jabs to boost confidence in the vaccination process, according to Haroon.
On the occasion, Lt Governor also inaugurated and witnessed the administering of the first dose of the vaccine to a sanitation in-charge of GMC Jammu.
Advisor to Lieutenant Governor Baseer Ahmed Khan, Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam, Financial Commissioner Health & Medical Education, Atal Dulloo, Administrative Secretaries, Principal GMC Jammu, Dr Shashi Sudan Sharma, and other senior officers were also present during the occasion.
Terming the occasion as a historic day in the fight against Covid pandemic, Lt Governor said he was delighted that the wait for this much-awaited vaccine has finally come to an end.
Speaking on the occasion, Lt Governor recalled that COVID-19 pandemic was a big challenge for humanity and governments alike, and to steer out of this challenge was an uphill task, adding that the Coronavirus vaccine is only possible due to the untiring efforts of doctors, medical experts, scientists, and researchers.
Lt Governor informed that the vaccination would be given in three phases covering Health Care Workers followed by frontline workers (security forces, police, and other defense personnel) and elderly people in the initial phases.
Lt Governor urged people to remain vigilant and follow all Standard Operating Protocols (SOPs) even after taking COVID -19 vaccine shots, with zero room for complacence until 14 days after the second dose is administered to them.
Sinha termed the launch of vaccine for coronavirus eradication as a ‘golden chapter in India’s history’ and said that the day is an important event that would be remembered for generations to come.
While detailing about the vaccination programme, Lt Governor said the government has identified 1294 private and 1177 government facilities along with 5400 vaccinators and 14,481 potential vaccinators across J&K. Besides, he said maintaining harmonized protocol, training, data management system, divisional and district level control rooms, call centers, the administration has also conducted two dry runs of Covid vaccine and 1053 session sites have also been identified for the smooth vaccination process.
Giving further details about the vaccination drive, he said that in J&K, 28 lakh have been identified who will be given Covid vaccine in the first and second phase on priority.