Facing relentless criticism for granting emergency approval for home-grown coronavirus vaccine, the Modi government got a shot in the arm when Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates praised ‘Indian leadership for scientific innovation and vaccine manufacturing capability’. Tagging @PMOIndia, he tweeted, “It’s great to see India’s leadership in scientific innovation and vaccine manufacturing capability as the world works to end the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Much to the dislike of the naysayers, Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus also appreciated the efforts of India, the largest vaccine producer of the world, fight and end the COVID-19 pandemic.
“#India continues to take decisive action & demonstrate its resolve to end #COVID19 pandemic. As the world’s largest vaccine producer it’s well placed to do so,” tweeted Tedros. Tagging PM Modi he added, “If we #ACTogether, we can ensure effective & safe vaccines are used to protect the most vulnerable everywhere @narendramodi”.
As one of the world’s largest vaccine manufacturing hub, India has secured authorisation to mass-produce the AstraZeneca, Novavax and Gamaleya Research Institute vaccines.
India’s domestic vaccination driver that would cover 1.3 billion people (94 million over 65) will be the largest in the world. In the past, the country has successfully run similar mass vaccination drives that resulted in the eradication of polio and cholera.
In the first quarter of 2021, the government plans to vaccinate frontline healthcare workers and individuals over the age of 50 years. Over a period of six-to-eight months, the government plans to vaccinate around 250 million people.