India Takes Its Shot. "Don't Fall For Rumours," Urges PM
Manish Kumar, a sanitation worker, becomes the first person to recieve Covid jab in Delhi.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, launching India's vaccination drive today, paid tribute to Indian frontline workers and scientists and warned against falling for propaganda or rumours over vaccines.
Giving India a new motto - "Dawai bhi, Kadai bhi (Vaccine as well as discipline)" - PM Modi also cautioned that even after vaccination, citizens must stay vigilant and maintain all precautions against the virus, including masks and distancing.
India's drive is one of the world's biggest vaccination programmes, aimed at inoculating 3 crore health and other frontline workers to start with. Two shots manufactured in India, one developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca, and the other by Bharat Biotech, are being injected.
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.
"The DGCI (Drug Controller General of India) gave approval after they were satisfied with the data of the two vaccines. So stay away from rumours," PM Modi said.
"Our vaccine developers have a global credibility. Life-saving vaccines given to 60% 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.
"India's vaccines are developed in a way keeping in mind the conditions of the country. They will give decisive victory to our country," he said.
Looking back at the time when the pandemic broke out, PM Modi spoke of heart-wrenching moments when many could not even perform last rites for their loved ones and virus-infected people were separated from their families.
"But in times of that crisis and atmosphere of despair, some were giving us hope. They were putting themselves at risk to save us - doctors, nurses, paramedics, ambulance drivers, ASHA workers, sanitation workers, police and other frontline workers - they prioritised their duty towards humanity. They stayed away from their families and children, stayed away from their homes for days. Hundreds never returned home. They sacrificed their lives to save lives. So today, by vaccinating the healthcare workers first, society is in a way paying their debts," said the Prime Minister.
He said science or mankind was not prepared for such an outbreak.
"It takes years to make a vaccine, but in such a short time, not one but two Made-in-India vaccines were developed. This is a testimony to the skills and talent of our scientists," said the PM.
Over 3 lakh healthcare workers are set to be inoculated on the first day of the drive which Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said was "probably the beginning of the end" of COVID-19.
Some 3,000 sites across all states and union territories are vaccinating health workers; around 100 people will be vaccinated at each session site.
Also read- Coronavirus Vaccine: Can Pregnant Women Get Vaccinated And Other FAQs Answered