As the made-in-India COVID-19 vaccine is all set to be delivered to sections which need it the most, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday asked the citizens of the country not to lower their guard despite vaccination.
During his virtual address after laying the foundation stone of the AIIMS in Rajkot, the Prime Minister said, "I used to say earlier, repeatedly: jab tak dawai nahin, tab tak dhilai nahin (do not be complacent till there's a vaccine). Now the vaccine is on the horizon. It's a matter of time. But I still want to say: dawai bhi aur kadai bhi (get vaccinated, but take every precaution)," reported The Indian Express.
He asked citizens to remain vigilant. "Don't be under the illusion that there will be no need for restrictions once the vaccine arrives. That's what the world is saying, that's what the scientists are saying. Dawai bhi aur kadai bhi should be our mantra for 2021," he added.
He made these remarks on the eve of a crucial meeting of the Subject Expert Committee in the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation. It is scheduled to analyse data from the Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech.
Serum Institute has partnered with Oxford-AstraZeneca to manufacture and distribute Covishield- COVID-19 vaccine. Covaxin (another vaccine) is developed by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research.
Modi also cautioned about rumour-mongering. "In our country, rumour mills work overtime. It is possible that rumour mills will be at work once vaccination begins. It is possible numerous falsehoods would be peddled with the intention to show someone in poor light with no consideration of the harm that such activity can cause to the common man," he said.
He added that India, a country with over 130 crore people, showed the world that it can fight the toughest challenge, as was evident from the recovery of one crore people after contracting COVID-19.
Modi added that his government was expanding healthcare infrastructure on mission mode to meet future challenges. He said reforms like constituting the National Medical Commission will lead to an improvement in the quality of medical education and quantity as well.
"The target is to have an AIIMS in every state and at least one medical college among three Lok Sabha seats. Ten new AIIMS have been sanctioned in the past six years and many of them have become fully operational. Besides, we are also setting up 20 super-speciality hospitals in the country," he said.