Hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi took the first dose of Covaxin, the COVID-19 vaccine indigenously developed Bharat Biotech, Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan said it sends a clear message to the nation and all hesitancy should be buried now.
He said he has been saying since beginning that both the vaccines are “safe and perfect” as far as immunogenicity is concerned. Besides Covaxin, the other vaccine being used in India is Covishield, developed by Oxford-astraZeneca and is being produced by Serum Institute.
“We are thankful to the prime minister. He has always told us you have to lead by example. He took the jab first of all, when the vaccination begun for people above 60 years,” he told news agency ANI.
Dr Vardhan said Modi was administered Covaxin, “against which a lot of misinformation was spread even when it was scientifically perfect. I think the PM has given a clear message to the country. All misinformation and hesitancy should now be buried once and for all.”
Vardhan said he is planning to make the booking today and get vaccinated tomorrow. He appealed to all citizens above 60 years of age and those above 45 years with comorbidities, all MPs and MLAs and even Opposition MLAs to get vaccinated.
“This would send a message to people that they should get vaccinated at the earliest,” said the Union health minister.
Prime Minister Modi got himself administered the first dose of Covaxin earlier in the day at the AIIMS in New Delhi. He also appealed to all those who are eligible to get inoculated.
“Took my first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at AIIMS. Remarkable how our doctors and scientists have worked in quick time to strengthen the global fight against COVID-19. I appeal to all those who are eligible to take the vaccine. Together, let us make India COVID-19 free,” he tweeted along with a photo of him taking the shot.
Retweeting the PM’s post, Bharat Biotech said, “Inspired and humbled by Hon’ble PM’s remarkable commitment to build an Aatmanirbhar Bharat. Yes, we all shall fight COVID-19 together and emerge victorious.”
AIIMS director said by taking the vaccine, the prime minister “showed that we must do the same when turn comes. It’ll go long way in getting over vaccine hesitancy.”
Supreme Court judges, their families and even retired judges, will get COVID-19 shots from tomorrow. A vaccination facility has been arranged at the court complex. They can either get it at the court complex or government-listed hospitals.
The government had announced on Wednesday that everyone above 60 years of age and those over 45 years with comorbidities will be able to get COVID-19 vaccine from March 1 for free at government facilities and for a charge at many private hospitals.
Citizens can register and book an appointment for vaccination, anytime and anywhere, using the Co-WIN 2.0 portal or through other IT applications such as Aarogya Setu.
According to the latest data updated on Monday morning on the health ministry website, India’s COVID-19 tally has surpassed 1.11 crore while 1,57,157 people have died. There are currently 1,68,627 active cases in the country.