'Thank You, Manish. We're Grateful': Why a Sanitation Worker Became the First Indian to Get Covid Vaccine

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Manish Kumar, a frontline sanitation worker at Delhi AIIMS who received the first jab against the deadly coronavirus, risked his life to go into Covid zones without any formal training on infection control. And the courage of this unsung hero was perhaps the reason for him to get the first vaccine shot.

AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria said that while he could have easily been the first recipient of the vaccine, Kumar's selection sent a strong message to all frontline warriors that "we are very grateful to you and will never forget your contribution no matter who you are and where you are".

"There are many people who have been part of the Covid war, and who are the unsung heroes. They have worked tirelessly behind the scenes. They are ones really who have gone into the Covid areas without any formal training on infection control. They have risked themselves and very often we need to acknowledge them. So, I think this is a tribute to all healthcare workers," Dr Guleria, who also got the jab on Saturday, told News18.

On 23 people dying after being administered Pfizer Covid-19, AIIMS director said, "These are elderly people. So we need to see was it related to the vaccine or did it happen because of some other cause. The cause and effect relationship needs to be shown. I don't think so we have enough data right now to link it to vaccine. But it is something which needs to be looked at.

When asked about parents' apprehension to send their children to school without the vaccine, the doctor said, "In the next few months, we will have data emerging regarding the safety of these vaccines in children also. And then we can add children too in the list of people who need to be vaccinated."

India on Saturday launched the world's largest vaccination drive against the Covid-19 pandemic, which has claimed more than 1.3 million lives, sunk economies, shuttered businesses and shattered daily life the world over.

The Prime Minister Narendra Modi-government had granted approval to two vaccines, Covishield and Covaxin, developed by the Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech, respectively. In the first phase of the drive, 3 crore people will be vaccinated on priority.