Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan and his wife Nutan Goel on Tuesday took the second dose of the coronavirus vaccine at the Delhi Heart and Lung Institute. He took the second jab of indigenously developed Covid-19 vaccine ‘Covaxin’ exactly 28 days after the first shot on March 2.
As per the hospital receipt, the 66-year-old Minister paid Rs 250 charges for the vaccine at the private facility. Rs 100 was paid for ‘Covid-19 vaccination administration charges’ and Rs 150 for ‘Covid-19 vaccine charges’.
Vardhan used the opportunity to address the issue of vaccine hesitancy and asked people to stay away from rumours about the jabs against Covid-19, which has affected more than 1.2 crore people in the country and killed more than 162,000.
“Both Indian vaccines are safe and effective. A lot of people still have doubts regarding vaccines. I urge them not to believe what is being circulated in WhatsApp university,” Vardhan said, referring to false information shared on the widely-used messaging application.
“There are only a few rare cases wherein people contracted Covid-19 after taking vaccines. Even if someone tests positive after taking vaccines, it minimalises the chances of their hospitalisation or admission to ICU wards,” he added, ANI reported.
Vardhan further said there are seven more COVID-19 vaccine candidates in various stages of clinical trials, and a further two dozen in pre-clinical trials.
“Around seven more Covid vaccine candidates are in clinical trials. Some of them are in advanced phases of the trials. Around two dozen vaccines are in pre-clinical trials,” Vardhan was quoted as saying by NDTV.
The health minister’s vaccination was done as part of India’s second phase of inoculation for those above 60 years of age, and people between 45 and 59 years of age with specific comorbidities. Now, those over 45 years of age will also get Covid-19 vaccine from April 1, irrespective of the comorbidities.
So far, 6.11 crore doses of corona vaccine have been administered in the country since the drive began on January 16 after approval for ‘Covishield’ and ‘Covaxin’. The government has raised the interval between the first and second doses of Covishield to up to eight weeks in its ongoing vaccination drive against Covid-19.
However, this is only applicable for Oxford-AstraZeneca’s Covishield and not Bharat Biotech-ICMR’s Covaxin, which the Union Health Minister took.