Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday, January 16, virtually launched the world's largest COVID-19 vaccination programme at 10:30 am to fight the deadly pandemic that has claimed over 1.5 lakh lives in the country so far. In a virtual address, PM Modi paid an emotional tribute to scientists and healthcare workers, who have been on the frontlines during the pandemic.
"Amid the crisis and the atmosphere of despair, someone was transmitting hope by putting his life on the line to save us," PM Modi said. He added that safety protocol, including social distancing and wearing masks, must remain in place.
Manish Kumar, a sanitation worker at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi was the first person to receive the COVID-19 vaccine shot in India.
- Over three crore beneficiaries from the priority groups will be administered the vaccine, which Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said marks "probably the beginning of the end" of COVID-19.
- The vaccine will be first offered to the healthcare workers, frontline workers and those above 50 years of age, followed by the population below 50 with comorbidities. After that, the remaining population will be inoculated.
All India Institute Of Medical Science (AIIMS) director Randeep Guleria on Saturday received a vaccine against coronavirus during the first phase of the inoculation drive.
There are 3,006 session sites across the country, where 100 beneficiaries each will be given either of India's two indigenous vaccines, Covaxin or Covishield. Every beneficiary will need to get two doses of the same vaccine, 28 days apart.
- The government has created a dedicated 24X7 helpline number — 1075 — to address queries related to the vaccine rollout and the Co-WIN software.
- Till now, the government has procured 1.1 crores Covishield and 55 lakh Covaxin vaccines at a cost of Rs 200 and Rs 206 per dose.
- A 'Communication Control Room' at the Union Ministry of Health will closely monitor any "disinformation campaign and rumour-mongering" regarding the two vaccines to be administered on Saturday.
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged people to remember that the COVID-19 vaccines are only effective when two doses are to be taken. "Experts have said that there should be a gap of one month between both vaccinations," he said.
- Over one crore people have been infected with the disease in India since the outbreak of the deadly virus, while close to 1.52 lakh have died.