PM launches pan India rollout of Covid-19 vaccination drive

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday launched the world’s largest Covid-19 vaccination programme covering the entire length and breadth of the country via video conferencing.  

A sanitation worker from AIIMS, New Delhi, was the first Indian to get a Covid-19 vaccine shot, moments after Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the inoculation drive with an emotional address to the people.
The current session covering the entire length and breadth of the country involves a total of 3,006 sites across all states and union territories, virtually connected during the launch.
The prime minister remembered the desperate times of 2020 when families did not know any way out of the pandemic, and when they could not even offer ritualistic send-offs to the departed.
“Decision of a lockdown wasn’t easy but we went by the dictum ‘Jaan hai toh jahaan hai’,” Modi said.
“These vaccines will give us a ‘decisive victory’ in our fight against Covid-19,” said the prime minister, hailing the Indian resolve against Covid-19 as one of confidence and self reliance.
Exhorting people against falling for rumours or propaganda, the prime minister praised Indian scientists and researchers with meditating saints, who worked through the last year to deliver two made-in-India vaccines — which are the most “cost effective in the world”.
“The country has awaited this day eagerly for months. Everyone wanted to know when the COVID vaccine will come. The vaccine is here and in a very short time,” he added.
“Today, a grateful nation returns that favour and repays that loan by ensuring that health-care workers get the first shots,” Modi said while kicking off one-of-a-kind vaccine drive in human history.
“Never has such a scale of vaccination been run ever in history. You can imagine the scale from the first phase. More than hundred nations have less than three crore population and india is vaccinating three crore in phase one,” Modi said.
“Do not make the mistake of taking one shot and forgetting another. There will be a 28-day gap. You must remember that two weeks after the second dose, you will get the necessary protection from COVID. Don’t become casual affer the jab,” he reiterated.
The prime minister said India will target more than 300 million people in the first two phases of the vaccination, including 10 million health workers and 20 million frontline workers covered in the first phase, and 270 million 50-plus people and under 50-years category with co-morbid conditions.
The prime minister asked people to take the benefit of the vaccines saying the world trusted Indian scientific rigour.
“Today the scientists, and those associated with the vaccine deserve our special gratitude as they were engaged in vaccine development day in and day not through festivals,” Modi said. 
“This trust will be strengthened further as we conduct the Covid-19 drive, a process that will take a long year, but we just show the same self-confidence and self-reliance through the inoculation drive as we showed during our fight against the pandemic last year,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, quoting national poet Ramdhari Singh Dinkar “maanavvl jan zor lagaata hai, pathar paani ban jaata hai”.
To boost confidence among the countrymen about the vaccine, the prime minister also cited Telegu legend Apparao, who had said a nation was built on people and not bricks.
“We must give back to society,” the PM said.
Simultaneously, the drive rolled out across the country at 3,006 chosen locations — where 100 beneficiaries each were covered today — taking the total number of vaccinated to three lakh by this evening, if all the three lakh registered heath workers turn up to take their shots.
Modi said scientists and experts had given permission for emergency use of the made-in-India vaccines only after being absolutely sure of their safety and the people should be aware of any propaganda and rumours.
The made-in-India vaccines would ensure a “decisive victory” for the country over the coronavirus pandemic, he asserted.
“I wish India & Sri @narendramodiji great success in launching the world’s largest Covid vaccination roll-out. It brings me great pride that #Covishield is part of this historic effort & to endorse it’s safety & efficacy, I join our health workers in taking the vaccine myself,” Adar Poonawalla, CEO of Serum Institute of India, which supplies the Covishield vaccine stated in a tweet
The first shot to be administered today was the indigenously made Bharat Biotech-ICMR’s Covaxin.
Earlier, the Prime Minister recalled the dark days following the pandemic outbreak and said: “Today, I am remembering the days when everyone wanted to do something but did not have a way. Children had to live apart from mothers. Mothers cried and couldn’t do anything. Many elders were battling the disease all by themselves. We could not even see off the departed in traditional ritualistic ways.”
“The more we think of those days the more anguished we feel. But friends, in that same atmosphere of crisis, someone was weaving webs of hope. Someone was putting their lives at risk for our safety — our doctors, nurses, parade coal staff, Asha workers, ambulance drivers and safai Karamcharis.  They gave their role of service to society a priority — they stayed apart from families, did not go home for days. Several friends never came back home. This is why the society is repaying its loan and gratitude by giving the first doses to health workers today. Covid-19 vaccines are a tribute of a grateful nation to health workers,” the prime minister said.
States have been given both vaccines and the choice of allocation to session sites has been left to the states.