Modi kicks off India’s vaccination campaign, among world’s largest

Modi kicks off India’s vaccination campaign, among world’s largest

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched on Saturday one of the world’s largest vaccination campaigns, as part of efforts by the populous nation to bring the COVID-19 pandemic under control starting with two locally-manufactured shots.

Modi, who addressed healthcare workers through video conferencing, will not immediately take the vaccine himself as India is initially prioritising nurses, doctors and others on the front line.

Over 300,000 healthcare workers are to be inoculated on the first day of the much-anticipated drive, which the government said is “probably the beginning of the end” of Covid-19.

While launching the massive vaccination drive, PM Modi congratulated the countrymen and said, “Everyone was asking as to when the vaccine will be available. It is available now.” 

PM Modi on Saturday reminded people 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,” he added.

Lauding the efforts of the scientific community, PM said, “Normally, it takes many years to make a vaccine but in such a short span of time, not one, but two ‘Made in India’ vaccines are ready. Meanwhile, the work on other vaccines is progressing at a fast pace”.

A total of 3,006 session sites across all states and union territories were virtually connected during the launch at 10.30 am by the Prime Minister, and around 100 beneficiaries will be vaccinated at each session site.

The Drugs Controller General of India approved the Oxford Covid-19 vaccine Covishield, manufactured by the Serum Institute, and indigenously developed Covaxin of Bharat Biotech for restricted emergency use in the country, paving the way for a massive inoculation drive.

States have been advised to organise vaccination sessions taking into account 10 per cent reserve/wastage doses and an average of 100 vaccinations per session per day.

According to the government, the shots will be first offered to an estimated 10 million healthcare workers, and 20 m illion frontline workers, and then to persons above 50 years of age, followed by persons younger than 50 years of age with associated comorbidities.