Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday launched India’s Covid-19 vaccination drive, the world’s largest vaccination exercise. In a virtual address, an emotional Modi paid tribute to scientists and healthcare workers, who have been on the frontlines of the pandemic. He also warned citizens against falling for propaganda or rumours over vaccines.
Giving a new motto–Dawai bhi, Kadai bhi (yes to Vaccine, yes to discipline)–PM Modi also cautioned that even after vaccination, citizens must stay vigilant and maintain all precautions against the virus, including masks and distancing.
During the vaccination drive, Maharashtra recorded 14 cases of adverse events, however, none of them were fatal. State officials currently studying them.
The vaccination drive is aimed at inoculating 3 crore healthcare workers and other frontline workers. Two shots manufactured in India, the Covishield developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca, and Covaxin produced by Bharat Biotech, are being used. The drive was remote launched by the Prime Minister with the chanting of a Sanskrit shloka that meant ”let all be happy, let all be healthy”,
“I want to remind people of the country that two doses of the Corona vaccine are very important. Don’t commit the mistake that you take one dose and forget the second one. As experts have been saying, there will be a gap of about one month between the two doses,” PM Modi said.
The Prime Minister stressed that people should not fall for propaganda over vaccines, amid controversy over Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin, which has been cleared for emergency use while still in clinical trial.
“Our scientists and experts were assured about the safety and efficacy of the two Made-in-India vaccines, only then did they allow the emergency use authorization. So stay away from propaganda, rumours, or misinformation,” PM Modi said.
“Our vaccine developers have global credibility. Every Indian will be proud that life-saving vaccines given to 60 per cent children globally are made in India.”
PM Modi said Indian vaccines were cheaper compared to the other global vaccines, which required stringent conditions for storage.
Since the pandemic hit India in early 2020, over one crore and 5.42 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.