Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday took his first dose of the coronavirus vaccine at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi. He was administered Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin, according to ANI.
“Remarkable how our doctors and scientists have worked in quick time to strengthen the global fight against COVID-19,” Modi wrote on Twitter. “I appeal to all those who are eligible to take the vaccine. Together, let us make India COVID-19 free!”
The prime minister chose an early morning slot for vaccination to avoid causing inconvenience to the people, Hindustan Times reported.
After receiving the vaccine, Modi reportedly told the staff on duty: “Already done [administering the vaccine]? I didn’t even feel it.”
All India Institute Of Medical Sciences Director Randeep Guleria said that the prime minister’s move to get inoculated on the very first day of India’s second phase of vaccination drive should eliminate any hesitancy from the minds of people about the vaccine, reported PTI.
Guleria said that Modi took the jab around 6.30 am, after which he was kept under observation for half-an-hour as per protocol. “He is fine after taking the vaccine,” the AIIMS director said.
Sister P Niveda, who administered the jab to the prime minister, was informed about her high-profile task only in the morning, Guleria added.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah also received the first dose of vaccine at Medanta Hospital in Haryana’s Gurugram, PTI reported, quoting an unidentified official from the ministry. In August, Shah had tested positive for the virus and was admitted to the same hospital.
Union External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar also tweeted, informing that he had received the shot. “Got my jab,” Jaishankar said in a tweet. “For the curious, it was #Covaxin. Felt secure, will travel safely.”
India’s second phase of vaccination, covering people above the age of 60 and those above 45 with comorbidities, began on Monday.
Around 10,000 private hospitals under Ayushman Bharat, more than 600 hospitals under the Central Government Health Scheme, and other private hospitals enrolled under state schemes can administer the vaccine.
Private hospitals are allowed to charge Rs 250 for each dose of the vaccine, while inoculation at government hospitals will be free. By expanding the vaccination drive, government is hoping to control the surge in coronavirus cases across several states.
India had begun the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines on January 16, with a target of inoculating 30 crore people by July. More than 1.43 crore health and frontline workers have been vaccinated against the coronavirus so far.
India on Monday registered 15,510 coronavirus cases, taking the overall count to 1,11,12,241. The new cases were 7.4% lower than Sunday’s count. The country’s toll rose to 1,57,157 after 106 deaths were reported in the last 24 hours.