Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Saturday said that India is gradually heading towards victory against COVID-19. Addressing the health ministers of all states and UTs via video conferencing, Vardhan said, “We received success to an extent in our fight against COVID-19, in one year. The data in the last three to four months, our recovery and fatality rate indicate that we were gradually heading towards victory against COVID-19.”
Speaking on the COVID-19 vaccines, he said, “To further speed this up, our scientists developed two indigenous vaccines with the support of our scientists, doctors, researchers, vaccine manufacturing industry and citizens of India who volunteered for clinical trials to make research of scientists successful.”
“Today is perhaps the day of tremendous relief for all of us in the past year. The vaccines have been presented before the country like ‘Sanjeevani’ for us, in the fight against COVID-19. The fight was gradually heading towards victory, now it seems almost definite that the step towards victory will be taken quickly,” added Vardhan.
Speaking on the ongoing rumours, he said, “There’s a small section that is spreading rumours about vaccines, their utility, their safety, to mislead the people in society. But such a large number of people received vaccines today with great joy and enthusiasm, eminent doctors received the vaccine.”
“If people’s representatives would have taken the vaccine first, then people would have said that these leaders have protected themselves first of all. So, we should not get worried about such discussions,” Vardhan added.
“A debate has started that why are Health Ministers or people’s representatives not taking the vaccine. I was asked that why am I not taking vaccine? I told them that I’ll wait for my turn, which will come when people above 50 yrs of age will be administered the vaccine,” he also stated.
Meanwhile, the Health Ministry has said that COVID-19 vaccines–Covaxin and Covishield, has been administered at 3,351 session sites across India. “1,65,714 beneficiaries inoculated with COVID-19 vaccines till 5.30 pm across India on the first day. 16,755 personnel were involved in organising COVID-19 vaccination sessions,” added the Health Ministry. It added that the COVID-19 inoculation drive was successfully conducted on the first day and there has been no case of post-vaccination hospitalisation reported so far.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the world’s largest vaccination drive against the pandemic. According to the government, the shots will be offered first to an estimated one crore healthcare workers and around two crore frontline workers, and then to persons above 50 years of age, followed by those younger than 50 years with associated comorbidities.
The cost of vaccination of healthcare and frontline workers will be borne by the central government. Vardhan said 3,006 session sites across all states and UTs held the exercise simultaneously on Saturday with around 100 beneficiaries vaccinated at each of the sites. With a population of 138 crore and a history of Universal Immunization Program, which involves targeted vaccination against twelve vaccine-preventable diseases, India stands at the cusp of recording history and shows the way to peers across the globe.