The health authorities in India launched the world’s largest vaccination drive as a sanitary worker became the first person to receive the coronavirus vaccine. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the program that aims to inoculate a population of 1.3 billion. While addressing the nation, India’s premier paid tribute to the front-line health workers, who will be the first to receive the job.
After the US, India remains among the worst-affected country in the world in terms of total infections. In the days leading to the start of the ambitious vaccination drive, million of doses were shipped to the country. Currently, the health authorities have approved two vaccines, Covishield and Covaxin. In his Saturday’s address, Modi said, “We are launching the world’s biggest vaccination drive and it shows the world our capability.”
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He further added that the government was ready to initiate the inoculation drive with the help of an app that would ensure that no citizen is left behind. Besides, Modi urged the residents to adhere to the social distancing restrictions and wearing face coverings. Additionally, he told his countrymen not to fall victim to any conspiracy theories regarding the safety and efficacy of the shots. Modi told Indians that the vaccines were approved after scientists gave the go-ahead.
In the first round of the inoculation program, as many as 10 million health workers are expected to get the shots, followed by local law enforcement and other key public departments. People above the age of fifty and diagnosed with serious underlying health conditions will be the health authorities’ next priority. By early August, New Delhi aims to administer more than 300 million doses. As of Saturday, many camps have been established in schools and government buildings across the country.
India’s top drug regulatory authority had approved two vaccines, Covishield – the local name for the Oxford vaccine – and Covaxin, produced by a local pharmaceutical company. But many experts had raised concerns on the efficacy of the shot as it was given emergency approval before it completed phase three trials.
On the other hand, the developer of the vaccine stated that the shot is safe, and the data would be available by the end of February. Even though the real challenges would surface once the general public starts receiving the drug, experts suggest that the nation is primed for the challenge as a vaccine distribution system has been in place for decades.
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