Prime Minister Narendra Modi Saturday kicked off the nationwide Covid-19 vaccination programme via video conferencing, as he congratulated India and the country’s scientists and researchers for developing two vaccines in such a short span of time. He said the country had been waiting impatiently for this day, adding that this is for the first time in history that a vaccination exercise has been launched on such a massive scale.
“We have got two vaccines in such short time, it’s a testimony to our scientists’ talent and skills,” Modi said.
Modi said India’s vaccination programme is driven by humanitarian concerns and those exposed to maximum risks have been given priority.
He reiterated that two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine are very important, adding, “I want to remind people of the country that two doses of the coronavirus vaccine are very important. Experts have said that there should be a gap of one month between both vaccinations.”
Modi also allayed fears regarding efficacy of the vaccines and said, “Scientists gave nod to two made-in-India vaccines after being sure of their effects, don’t pay heed to rumours, propaganda.” Indian vaccines enjoy global credibility because of their track record, he further said.
Modi requested people not to lower their guard and make the mistake of removing masks or not maintaining social distancing after the first dose, since immunity develops after the second dose of the vaccine.
Three crore frontline workers in India will be administered the Covid-19 vaccine in phase one. There are 3,006 session sites across the country, where 100 beneficiaries each will be given either of India’s two indigenous vaccines, Covaxin or Covishield. Every beneficiary will need to receive two doses of the same vaccine, 28 days apart.
Since the pandemic hit India in early 2020, over one crore and 5.27 lakh people have been infected with the disease, while close to 1.52 lakh have died. At present, Kerala and Maharashtra are reporting the highest number of daily cases.