Modi launches pan-India rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination drive
New Delhi, January 16, 2021
Launching the pan-India rollout of COVID-19 vaccination drive today, Prime Minister Narendra Modi described it as the world’s largest innoculation programme covering the entire length and breadth of the country.
A total of 3,006 session sites across all States and UTs were virtually connected during the launch. The Prime Minister put the unprecedented scale of the vaccination drive in perspective saying that, in the first round itself, 3 crore people, which was more than the population of at least 100 countries of the world,, would be vaccinated.
This needs to be taken up to 30 crore in the second round when the elderly and people with serious co-morbidities will be vaccinated. Only three countries -- India, USA and China, have a population of more than 30 crores. This scale of vaccination campaign has never been attempted in history and this shows India’s capability, he added.
The Prime Minister began his speech by paying compliments to the scientists who were associated with the development of the vaccines. Usually, it takes years to prepare a vaccine but here, in such a short time, not one but two made-in-India vaccines were launched. He cautioned the people to be careful about not missing taking two doses. There will be a gap of one month between the doses. He asked people to keep their guard up even after taking the vaccine as the human body will develop necessary immunity against the coronavirus only two weeks after receiving the second dose.
He asked the people not to pay heed to rumours and conspiracy theories as Indian vaccine scientists, medical system, Indian process and an institutional mechanism were trusted globally. This trust was earned with a consistent track record. Around 60% of children world over receive life-saving vaccines which are made in India and pass through stringent Indian scientific tests.
These made-in-India vaccines have been approved for emergency use only after the scientists and experts were fully convinced about their safety and efficacy, he added.
“This trust in Indian vaccine expertise and Indian vaccine scientists is going to be further strengthened by the made-in-India vaccine. Indian vaccines are not only much cheaper than foreign vaccines, but they are also much easier to administer too. Some of the foreign vaccines are priced up to Rs 5,000 per dose and have to be stored in a minus 70-degree temperature. Indian vaccines are based on technology which has been tried and tested for many years in India. From storage to transportation, these vaccines are suitable for Indian conditions and will help us in securing a decisive victory in our fight against the coronavirus,” he said.
The Prime Minister congratulated the country for a united and brave fight against the pandemic. He termed the Indian response to COVID-19 as one of self-confidence and self-reliance. He noted a determination of not to let the confidence weaken in every Indian.
He referred to the scaling up of just one testing lab to a strong network of 2,300 labs; from dependence to self-sufficiency to export capacity in masks, PPE and ventilators. He called upon people to show the same sense of self-confidence and self-reliance during the phase of the vaccination drive.
He dwelt at length on the contribution of doctors, nurses, paramedical staff, ambulance drivers, ASHA workers, sanitation workers, police and other frontline workers who endangered their lives to save others. Some of them did not even return to their homes as they lost their lives in the fight against the virus.
The frontline warriors brought hope in an environment of despondency and fear. Today, by vaccinating them first, the country was acknowledging their contribution with gratitude, he added.
The vaccination campaign was based on very humane and important principles. Those who need the vaccine the most will get it first. Those who were at the maximum risk of getting infected will be vaccinated first.
“Our doctors, nurses, hospital sanitation workers and paramedical staff will have the first right to get vaccinated. This priority is available to the staff at hospitals in both the public and private sectors.
“After the medical staff, the members of essential services, and those responsible for the country’s security and law and order will be vaccinated. Our security forces, police personnel, fire brigade, sanitation workers will be given priority. This number will be nearly 3 crore and Government of India will bear the expense of their vaccination,” he added.
Referring to the initial days of the crisis, the Prime Minister noted that India showed alertness and took the right decisions at the right moment. Two weeks before the first case, which was detected on January 30, 2020, India had formed a High-Level Committee. India had started proper surveillance exactly one year ago. On January 17, India issued its first advisory and it was among the first nations to start screening of passengers at the airports.
He congratulated the countrymen to pass the challenge of discipline and patience during the Janata Curfew. He pointed out that the exercise prepared the country psychologically for the lockdown. Morale was kept high with the campaigns like ‘Taali-Thali’ and lighting of Diya.
Referring to the evacuation of Indians stuck abroad, heIn a time when many countries of the world had left their citizens stranded in China, India evacuated not only Indians but also citizens of other countries. He recalled sending of an entire lab to a country that was finding it difficult to test evacuating Indians.
The Prime Minister said India’s response to the crisis has been acknowledged globally. It was an example of the integrated and unified response from the centre, states, local governments, government offices, social bodies who performed efficiently in unison.
After the speech, Prime Minister tweeted “India begins the world’s #LargestVaccineDrive. This is a day of pride, a celebration of the prowess of our scientists and hard work of our medical fraternity, nursing staff, police personnel and sanitation workers.
"May everyone be healthy and free from illness.”
He concluded the tweet with the Vedic prayer: “ Sarvebhavantusukhinah Sarvesantuniramaya, Sarve Bhadraanni Pashyantu, Maa Kaschid-Duhkha-Bhaaga-Bhavet, Om Shaantih, Shaantih, Shaantih” (May All be Happy, May All be Free from Illness. : May All See what is Auspicious, May no one Suffer, Let peace prevail)