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Kerala Kaumudi Online
Wednesday, 03 March 2021 5.43 AM IST

India begins world’s largest inoculation drive; Vaccines ‘sanjivani’ in fight against pandemic, says Health Minister

vaccine

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi Saturday launched India’s Covid-19 vaccination drive, the world’s largest inoculation exercise against the novel coronavirus. In a virtual address, an emotional PM Modi paid tribute to scientists and healthcare workers, who have been on the frontlines of the pandemic.

Manish Kumar, a sanitation worker, became the first person in the Indian capital to be administered a COVID-19 vaccine during the launch of the nationwide vaccination programme at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in the presence of Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Saturday.

As people around applauded, AIIMS Director Randeep Guleria also received a shot of the vaccine followed by NITI Aayog member V K Paul.

“Amid the crisis and the atmosphere of despair, someone was transmitting hope by putting his life on the line to save us,” PM Modi said. He added that safety protocol, including social distancing and wearing masks, must remain in place.

In Kerala, 8062 health workers received the Covid vaccine, Health Minister KK Shailaja said. The target was to vaccinate 11,138 people at 133 centers in the state. Palakkad district had the highest number of health workers (857) receiving the vaccine. Vaccination was carried out at 12 centers in Ernakulam district, 11 centers each in Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode districts and 9 centers each in the remaining districts.

India will administer shots to three crore frontline workers in phase one. There are 3,006 session sites across the country, where 100 beneficiaries each will be given either of India’s two indigenous vaccines, Covaxin or Covishield. Every beneficiary will need to receive two doses of the same vaccine, 28 days apart.

Since the pandemic hit India in early 2020, over one crore and 5.27 lakh people have been infected with the disease, while close to 1.52 lakh have died. At present, Kerala and Maharashtra are reporting the highest number of daily cases.

India is drawing from its experiences of its Universal Immunisation Programme and the booth strategy during elections to conduct the massive drive. The Centre has disbursed Rs 480 crore to states for the operational cost of the exercise. Aadhaar and the Co-WIN platform will be used extensively to identify and monitor beneficiaries. If all goes to plan, 30 crore people may be vaccinated against the contagion by July end.

The government has created a dedicated 24X7 helpline number — 1075 — to address queries related to the vaccine rollout and the Co-WIN software.

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TAGS: KERALA, INDIA, VACCINATION DRIVE, COVID 19, CORONA VIRUS, PRIME MINISTER, NARENDRA MODI, COVISHILED, COVAXIN, MAHARASHTRA, IMMUNISATION PROGRAMME
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