8.57 pm: Norway registers 29 deaths among people over the age of 75 who were administered their first Covid-19 vaccination shot, reports Bloomberg. Norwegian Medicines Agency says all the reported deaths are related to “elderly people with serious basic disorders”.

“Most people have experienced the expected side effects of the vaccine, such as nausea and vomiting, fever, local reactions at the injection site, and worsening of their underlying condition,” the agency adds.

8.48 pm: The coronavirus tally in Rajasthan rises to 3,14,920 as the state registers 238 fresh cases, reports PTI. With two deaths, the toll climbs to 2,746. There are 5,286 active cases and a total of 3,06,888 patients have recovered from the infection so far.

8.42 pm: The Delhi unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party celebrates the coronavirus vaccination drive by distributing sweets and giving roses to health workers at various centres in the national Capital, reports PTI.

8.42 pm: Haryana reports 167 new coronavirus cases and four deaths, reports PTI. The infection tally in the state climbs to 2,66,131, including 2,983 fatalities, 2,61,019 discharges and 2,129 active cases.

8.38 pm: The coronavirus tally in Maharashtra climbs to 19,87,678 after the state registers 2,910 new cases, reports ANI. The toll rises by 52 to 50,388. There are 51,965 active cases while 18,84,127 people have recovered.

8.37 pm: The Indian Army says healthcare workers in the forward field hospitals of the Army in Arunachal Pradesh were vaccinated, reports ANI.

8.31 pm: The Union Health Ministry says 1,91,181 beneficiaries were vaccinated on the first day of the coronavirus immunisation drive.

7.26 pm: “Since it was the first day of vaccination, a few issues came up – delay in uploading beneficiary list at some session sites and healthcare workers vaccinated though not scheduled for today’s session,” the health ministry says. “Resolutions were provided for both the issues.”

7.20 pm: According to provisional data, as many as 1,65,714 people were vaccinated across India by 16,755 vaccinators on the first day of the drive.

7.18 pm: The health ministry says there has been no one has been hospitalised after receiving a vaccine shot so far.

7.15 pm: The health ministry says the first day of the vaccination drive was a success. Covishield was supplied to all states and Union Territories, while Covaxin was supplied to 12 states, the ministry says. “Total 3,351 sessions were held across the country with both the vaccines,” it adds.

6.58 pm: Harsh Vardhan adds: “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.”

Also read:

‘Don’t hide behind vaccine nationalism’: Congress leader, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan trade barbs

6.56 pm: Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan adds that a small section of people are “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 & enthusiasm, eminent doctors received the vaccine,” Vardhan adds. “A debate has started that why are Health Ministers or people’s representatives not taking 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 years of age will be administered vaccine.”

6.49 pm: Health Minister Harsh Vardhan says the first day of the Covid vaccination drive brought “tremendous relief”, NDTV reports. “It has been a day of tremendous relief,” he says. “We received success to an extent in our fight against COVID-19, in one year. Data in last 3-4 months, our recovery & fatality rate indicate that we were gradually heading towards victory against COVID.”

6.19 pm: Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav asks the Centre when the poor will get the free shot of the coronavirus vaccine, reports PTI. He says that he has faith in doctors of the country but not the government.

6.17 pm: Visuals of Jharkhand and Goa chief ministers visiting coronavirus vaccination sites.

6.33 pm: Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal launches the vaccination drive at the Assam Medical College in Dibrugarh, reports ANI.

6.10 pm: West Bengal government says that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has asked the Centre to provide coronavirus vaccines not only for the frontline workers but for all the people of the state, reports ANI. “CM [Chief Minister Banerjee] feels that people of the state should get vaccines free of cost,” the state government says. “If needed, the state might bear the financial burden.”

6.08 pm: Andhra Pradesh reports 114 new coronavirus cases and 326 recoveries and no deaths, according to ANI. The infection tally in the state climbs to 8,85,824, including 8,76,698 discharges, 7,139 fatalities and 1,987 active cases.

6.06 pm: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh says that India will export coronavirus vaccines to other countries as it believes in “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam”, which means that the world is one family, according to ANI. He adds that more people will come up to get inoculated after seeing the results of Saturday’s vaccination drive.

6.04 pm: Delhi reports 299 new coronavirus cases, 397 recoveries and 6 deaths, reports ANI. The infection tally stands at 6,32,183, including 6,18,754 discharges, 10,738 fatalities and 2,691 active cases.

6.03 pm: Visuals from DMC Hospital in Ludhiana during the countrywide coronavirus vaccination drive.

5.59 pm: Union Home Minister Amit Shah says the coronavirus has been the toughest battle in humankind’s history and that India has fought the most successful battle against the pandemic under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership, reports ANI.

“It is a matter of joy for all Indians that we have been able to take this battle to its last stage with the help of two made in India vaccines,” Shah adds.

5.55 pm: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath asks people to remain alert for rumours regarding the coronavirus vaccines, reports PTI. The chief minister also ask people to wait for their turn to get vaccinated.

“Today is a day of immense happiness and excitement,” he says. “India is the first country which has launched two vaccines.”

5.54 pm: Union Health Ministry says that 116 people have so far tested positive for the new variant of the coronavirus that was first discovered in the United Kingdom, reports PTI.

3.34 pm: Union Home Minister Amit Shah said the use of “made in India” vaccines in the coronavirus immunisation drive represents the determination of a self-reliant India and is an important milestone in the country’s fight against the pandemic. “On this historic day, I bow to all our Corona warriors,” he tweets.

In another tweet, Shah says that India is one of the few countries which have achieved success to end the biggest crisis facing humanity.

3.28 pm: Congress MP Manish Tewari hits back at Health Minister’s remarks on him and the party. “Concerns that I have articulated are real & not imagined,” he says. “It is not fear Mongering. Look what is happening in Norway.”

Twenty-three elderly people died in Norway after they were administered with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, reports IANS. Tewary says that the vaccine being used in India may different vaccine but asks the health minister not to “hide behind vaccine nationalism.”

3.26 pm: Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan responds to Congress MP Manish Tewary’s allegations, saying that he and the party are only passionate about spreading distrust and rumours. “Open your eyes, sharing photos of eminent Doctors & Government functionaries getting inoculated,” he says.

3.19 pm: Manish Tewari says that the government’s decision to not give the option to choose between the two vaccines being used for vaccination goes against the entire doctrine of informed consent, reports ANI. He says that many doctors and scientists have raised questions with regard to the efficacy and safety of Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin.

“If the vaccine is so safe and reliable and efficacy of the vaccine is beyond question then how is it that not a single functionary of the government has stepped forward to get themselves vaccinated as it has happened in other countries around the world?” asks Tewari.

3.14 pm: Congress MP Manish Tewary raises questions on the efficacy of Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin and says India has no policy framework for authorising emergency use. “COVAXIN is another story - Approvals sans Due Process,” he tweets.

3.12 pm: Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh visits Civil Hospital in Mohali to inspect the coronavirus vaccination.

3.08 pm: Minister of State for Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy says the coronavirus vaccines were approved only after testing, after people raised doubts on their efficacy, reports ANI. “I say this confidently that the vaccines will benefit everyone,” he says.

3.05 pm: Medical superintendent of Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital Dr AK Singh Rana gets Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin during the vaccination drive, reports ANI.

1.38 pm: Consent forms of those receiving shots of Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin assured compensation if any adverse effect was found linked to the vaccine, reports NDTV.

1.35 pm: As many as 8,100 people will get the vaccine on first day in Delhi, says Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, reports ANI.

“I appeal to the people not to pay heed to rumours, experts have said that the vaccines are safe,” he says.

1.33 pm: All India Institute of Medical Sciences Director Dr Randeep Guleria says the vaccines are safe and efficient, reports ANI.

“We have to vaccinate a huge number of people and therefore we can’t start being very choosy,” he says.

1.30 pm: Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan describes the vaccine as “Sanjivani”, a mythical life-saving medicine, reports PTI.

“It’s a historic day,” he says. “It’s the largest coronavirus vaccination programme in world. These vaccines are ‘sanjivani’ in our fight against this pandemic.”

1.27 pm: A woman sanitation worker receives first shot of Covid-19 vaccine in Telangana, as immunisation process begins at 144 centres across the state, reports PTI.

1.24 pm: Tamil Nadu Government Doctors Association President Dr K Senthil receives the fisrt vaccine in the southern state, reports PTI.

1.22 pm: Bharatiya Janata Party leader and Gautam Buddh Nagar MP Mahesh Sharma gets vaccinated for coronavirus as a “healthcare worker”, becoming among the first parliamentarians in India to get inoculated, reports PTI

1.21 pm: Vaccination process starts in West Bengal, with Bipasha Seth, a private hospital doctor, becoming the first person to get inoculated. As many as 1,800 prople will be vaccinated on the first day in the state, reports PTI.

1.19 pm: Ranganath Bhojje, a worker at the Goa Medical College and Hospital, becomes the first to receive the vaccine dose in the coastal state, reports PTI.

1.17 pm: Serum Institute of India Chief Executive Officer Adar Poonawalla receives Covishield shot.

1.16 pm: Vaccination begins at 285 centres in Maharashtra. Dr Ranjit Mankeshwar, Dean of JJ Hospital in Mumbai and Dr Padmaja Saraf were among the first beneficiaries to receive the vaccine shots, reports PTI.

11.44 am: AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria receives a vaccine shot.

11.40 am: Health Minister Harsh Vardhan at AIIMS.

11.02 am: PM Modi says the “janata curfew” was a test of India’s resilience and discipline against coronavirus.

10.58 am: Addressing the nation at launch of vaccination drive, PM Modi claims India was one of the first countries to begin screening of passengers at airports.

10.54 am: PM Modi says 30 crore citizens, including elderly people and those with co-morbidities will get inoculated by the second phase of vaccination process.

10.45 am: PM Modi asks citizens not to ignore second dose of vaccine.

“I would like to remind that the second dose is very important,” he says. “The antibodies will be generated two weeks after the second dose.”

10.39 am: Modi reminds people to follow Covid-19 protocols.

10.35 am: Modi says it usually takes many years to make a vaccine. “...But in such a short span of time, not one, but two “Made in India” vaccines are ready,” he adds. “Meanwhile, the work on other vaccines is progressing at a fast pace.”

10.32 am: PM Modi congratulates all countrymen as he launches the Covid-19 vaccination drive.

10.28 am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi to launch the rollout of Covid-19 vaccination drive shortly through video conference.

10.18 am: Hospitals across India get ready for the vaccination drive.

9.55 am: India registers 15,158 new coronavirus cases, taking the overall count to 1,05,42,841. The country’s toll rises by 175 to 1,52,093. India’s active cases stand at 2,11,033, while the number of recoveries reaches 1,01,79,715.

9.30 am: Visuals from Mumbai’s Cooper Hospital.

9.08 am: Over 8 lakh samples were tested on Friday, says the Indian Council of Medical Research.

8.58 am: A total of 3,006 session sites across all states and union territories will be virtually connected during the launch of vaccination process.

8.57 am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweets on launch of vaccination process at 10.30 am on Saturday.

8.55 am: Efficacy of the Covishield vaccine goes up if the gap between two doses is more than 28 days, Serum Institute of India Executive Director Suresh Jadhav tells NDTV.

8.30 am: Here are the top updates from Friday

  • A day before a massive countrywide vaccination drive against coronavirus is set to commence, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Friday said the step is “the beginning of the end” of Covid-19.
  • India registered 15,590 new coronavirus cases on Friday, taking the overall count to 1,05,27,683. The country’s toll rose by 191 to 1,51,918. India’s active cases stood at 2,13,027, while the number of recoveries reached 1,01,62,738.
  • The Centre has issued guidelines to states and Union Territories. It said vaccination is allowed only for those who are above the age of 18 years. Women who are pregnant or not sure of their pregnancy and lactating mothers should not receive the jibe.
  • International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva praised India for taking “very decisive” steps to deal with the coronavirus pandemic and its economic consequences. She also asked India to do more in 2021 in order to support an accelerated transformation of the economy.
  • Globally, the coronavirus has infected more 9.30 crore people and killed 19.91 lakh, according to John Hopkins University. More than 5.13 crore people have recovered from the infection in the world.