This will be the world’s largest vaccination programme covering the entire length and breadth of the country
Hailing Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the launch of the world’s largest vaccination drive against COVID-19, top BJP leaders and union ministers on Saturday said it is a historic moment for the country and reflects the resolve to make India self-reliant.
Prime Minister Modi on Saturday kicked off the drive while reassuring the country that emergency use authorisation was given to two made in India vaccines only after scientists were convinced of their safety and effectiveness, and urged people to beware of propaganda and rumours.
Also read: COVID-19 vaccines safe, don’t believe rumours: Modi
Describing the launch of the vaccination drive as a “momentous” day in India’s history, BJP president J.P. Nadda said Prime Minister Modi is leading the country from the front in the battle against the COVID-19 by ensuring health services to all when they need it the most.
“We salute our doctors, nurses, healthcare workers for making great efforts at this time. They are the real heroes of the largest vaccine drive. Vaccine will save us from the COVID virus but we should support it by use of masks, frequent handwashing and maintaining physical distance,” Mr. Nadda said.
Also read: Coronavirus | World’s largest vaccination programme begins in India on January 16
Union Home Minister and senior BJP leader Amit Shah said the vaccination drive shows the immense potential of India’s scientists and the power of its leadership, as he again hailed the corona warriors.
“The ‘new India’ led by Modi ji transforms disasters into opportunities and challenges into achievements. This ‘Made in India’ vaccine represents the determination of this self-reliant India. On this historic day, I bow to all our Corona warriors,” Mr. Shah said in a series of tweets.
Echoing similar sentiments, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said by launching the largest vaccination drive, the Modi government has taken a decisive step to win the battle against the corona pandemic.
“Our country’s doctors, nurses, paramedical staff, policemen and other frontline workers who waged war against corona are now going to get a protective shield in the form of a vaccine. In the next phase, the vaccination campaign will reach 300 million people. It will certainly be a huge achievement,” Mr. Singh said in a tweet.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said the vaccination drive is the result of the prime minister’s commitment to a ‘healthy India’.
He appealed to people to wait patiently for their turn and ensure the success of this major exercise.
“At this point of time when the country is moving ahead in this battle against the pandemic, we have to also remain alert of the people who are spreading rumours,” the Chief Minister told reporters.
The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) had earlier this month approved 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.
This will be the world’s largest vaccination programme covering the entire length and breadth of the country.
According to the government, the shots will be offered first to an estimated one crore healthcare workers, and around two crore frontline workers, and then to persons above 50 years of age, followed by persons younger than 50 years of age with associated comorbidities.
Gautam Buddh Nagar MP Mahesh Sharma, who is also a trained MBBS doctor, got vaccinated for coronavirus as a ‘healthcare worker’. He is among the first parliamentarians in India to get inoculated for the infection.
“The beginning of the end for COVID-19 has started today with Prime Minister Narendra Modi launching the world’s largest vaccination campaign. As a doctor, I have also got vaccinated for coronavirus. I am feeling absolutely fine. The vaccine is completely safe and all of you should get vaccinated,” the 61-year-old former union minister tweeted in Hindi.
The cost of vaccination of healthcare and frontline workers will be borne by the central government.
Addressing the nation ahead of the launch of the drive, Mr. Modi said these vaccines will ensure a ‘decisive victory’ for India over the coronavirus pandemic, but asked countrymen to continue wearing masks and maintain social distancing even after receiving the jabs.
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