As India kicked off the world's biggest Covid-19 vaccination drive, a frontline sanitation worker at Delhi AIIMS, Manish Kumar, received the first jab against the deadly respiratory disease.
He was inoculated in the presence of Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan. All India Institute of Medical Sciences Director Dr Randeep Guleria also received the vaccine shot.
"I knew I was a beneficiary, I told my supervisor to make me the first recipient because I wanted to dispel fears around the vaccine. A lot of apprehension is there, but I am fine. I have been working in AIIMS for many years now. There is no reason to be afraid of the vaccine. My family was fearful too, but I told them that I am taking it and I have faith," said Kumar after receiving the jab.
Vardhan said the two vaccines the indigenous Covaxin from Bharat Biotech and Covishield from the Oxford/AstraZeneca stable - were a' sanjivani', life infusing, in the fight against the pandemic. "These vaccines are our sanjivini' in our fight against the pandemic. We have won the battle against polio and now we have reached the decisive phase of winning the war against Covid. I want to congratulate all frontline workers on this day," Vardhan told reporters shortly after the vaccine shots were administered.
#WATCH | Manish Kumar, a sanitation worker, becomes the first person to receive COVID-19 vaccine jab at AIIMS, Delhi in presence of Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan. pic.twitter.com/6GKqlQM07d— ANI (@ANI) January 16, 2021
India on Saturday launched the world's largest vaccination drive against the Covid-19 pandemic, which has claimed more than 1.3 million lives, sunk economies, shuttered businesses and shattered daily life the world over.
The Prime Minister Narendra Modi-government had granted approval to two vaccines, Covishield and Covaxin, developed by the Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech, respectively. In the first phase of the drive, 3 crore people will be vaccinated on priority.
Modi, in a televised address before the vaccine rollout, said there are several nations whose entire population is less than 3 crores, but India will be vaccinating as many people in just the first phase, as he saluted scientists for developing the vaccines in such a short span of time. He said the both vaccines being made in India was yet another example of how the country was moving forward on the path of self-reliance.
He stressed upon the importance of taking both doses of the vaccine. “I would like to remind you again that it is very important to have two doses of corona vaccine. Between the first and second doses, a gap of about one month will be kept. Only 2 weeks after the second dose, your body will develop the necessary strength against the virus,” Modi said.
The Prime Minister said the vaccines approved by the government were much cheaper than alternatives being used in the west, referring to the shots developed by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. He said those vaccines would cost around Rs 5,000 to vaccinate a person and would need to be stored at temperatures around -70 degree Celsius, making the logistics tougher.