In phase two of what Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan called the world’s largest coronavirus vaccination drive, India administered 4.27 lakh doses on Monday as the second phase of vaccination began.
On Day 1 of the drive, that was rolled out across India, 25 Lakh beneficiaries registered on the CoWin app to get vaccination, of whom 24.5 lakh beneficiaries are ordinary citizens.
In the second phase, those above 60 years of age and those above 45 years of age with co-morbidities can register to get vaccinated.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, Foreign Minister S Jaishankar and Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma were among those who got vaccinated on Monday. The prime minister got a shot of Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin at AIIMS on Monday morning.
In the first phase of vaccination, the health ministry said that 1.43 crore people — health workers and frontline warriors — were vaccinated.
Meanwhile, Harsh Vardhan said on Monday the government had bought enough Covid-19 vaccines and assured the people of the country that there would be no shortage. He said in an exclusive interview to CNN-News18 that India was running the world’s largest vaccination drive and it would be scaled up exponentially.
This comes as there has been a sharp rise in Covid-19 cases in several states including Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Telangana and Jammu and Kashmir.
The health minister told CNN-News18 that the government will provide every dose that is administered in India, with people having the option of buying it in private hospitals. He said that the cost of the vaccine will be capped at Rs 150.
However, the health minister warned that one of the important things that needed to be done was that people didn’t take things casually as vaccines had been rolled out. “People think that everything is fine now, there is a huge decline in the number of cases in the country, there is a huge decline in fatality rates. There is no need for any complacency.”
He said people must adhere to Covid appropriate behaviour and “huge number of tests”.
The health minister will get vaccinated on Tuesday at the Delhi Heart and Lung Institute.