PM launches COVID vaccination drive, calls it ‘proud day for India’

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New Delhi, Jan 16 (FN Bureau) Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday launched the nationwide COVID-19 vaccination drive, world’s biggest against the deadly Corona virus, and lauded the efforts of scientific community for developing the vaccine describing it an example of India’s talent and efficiency. Nearly 3 crore high-risk people will be given the jab in the first phase. Speaking after launching the drive virtually the Prime Minister also cautioned against propaganda, rumours and motivated misinformation against the vaccine and assured people that these (vaccines) had been approved by experts only after they were fully satisfied with their efficiency.

“Citizens should stay clear of any negative propaganda, rumours and disinformation. Our vaccine researchers and our medical system have immense credibility the world over since long and this is something that we have earned through our track record,’ he said. Lauding the efforts of the scientists, doctors, healthcare workers and all those connected with the vaccine research he said they deserved special praise because for the past several months they had dedicated themselves to the vaccine research, did not care about day or night and did not celebrate festivals. Usually it took years to make a vaccine, yet they were able to make it in a short time, he said calling it an ‘example of India’s talent efficiency and dexterity.” The Prime Minister described it as a ‘’proud day for India’’ and said It is people who make guidelines effective. ‘’From Janata Curfew to mask discipline and beyond, amazing spirit shown by 130 crore Indians. The scale of the largest vaccine drive is unimaginable.

It is an ambitious endeavor aimed at defeating COVID-19 as quickly as possible. A swift and people-powered response to COVID-19 global pandemic at a scale that is unparalleled which celebrates ‘Make in India’. Let us defeat COVID-19,’’ the Prime Minister said in a series of tweets. The government has approved two vaccines–Oxford-AstraZeneca’s ‘Covishield’ and Bharat Biotech’s ‘Covaxin’ for emergency use. In the first phase of the drive, nearly three crore high-risk people including healthcare and frontline workers will be administered the vaccine in the coming six to eight months. “The vaccination drive is based on very humane principles and the people who need it the most, will get the vaccine first. By reserving the first vaccines for these people, the society is expressing its gratefulness. Our vaccination programme is driven by humanitarian concerns, those exposed to maximum risk get priority,” he said. A sanitation worker from the AIIMS was given the first shot of the vaccine in Delhi. While 3 crore people would be administered the vaccine in the first phase, up to 30 crore people would be vaccinated in the second phase. There are only three countries in the world with a population over 300 million – India, China and America”, he said and recalled how two ‘Made in India’ vaccines were readied in such a short period. He highlighted the need to have two doses of the vaccine the Prime Minister said that between the first and second doses, there would be a gap of about one month. The body would develop immunity against the virus two weeks after the second dose.

He urged people to continue wearing masks, maintain social distancing even after getting a shot because immunity develops after the second dose. Ahead of the vaccination drive launch, the Prime Minister said “In the fight against corona, we have set an example for the world at many steps. When countries left their citizens who were stuck in China amid the pandemic, India stepped up and evacuated not only Indians but also people of other nations under the Vande Bharat mission.’’ He said the CoWin digital platform which has been specially created for the vaccination programme has all facilities for registration, tracking of patients and the time for the second dose after receiving the first shot. The Prime Minister made it clear that the vaccines would be administered free of cost on a priority basis to those who are most vulnerable to getting infected and all expenses would be borne by the government. “India’s vaccination program is based on humanitarian ideals and those who have the maximum risk of infection would receive the vaccine first–doctors, nurses, sanitation workers of hospitals, medical and paramedical staff–they are first entitled to the Corona vaccine.

Whether they are serving in a government or private hospital, they would be receiving this vaccine on a priority basis. After this people engaged in essential services or defending the country, maintaining law and order like security forces, police forces, part of fire brigades, sanitation workers would be administered the vaccine on a priority basis. He also cautioned people against making mistakes like foregoing the second dose of the vaccine and said that only after two weeks of receiving the second dose of the vaccine, does the body develop immunity against the virus. ‘’So don’t make the mistake of abandoning the mask or discontinuing physical distancing after getting the vaccine. I request you not to make such mistakes. I request you to show the same level of patience during the vaccination programme that you have soon till now.”

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