Speed Post News Network

New Delhi : Union Health & Family Welfare Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan,chose to be with doctors, nurses, and other healthcare and frontline workers at AIIMS, New Delhi, on January 16, 2021,  when the Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the world’s largest COVID-19 vaccination drive. Dr Vardhan applauded their selfless devotion and commitment to the nation’s fight against COVID-19 as the a sanitation worker Manish Kumar became the first recipient of the vaccination drive at AIIMS, New Delhi.

Describing the exercise as the start of the climax of the pandemic that started a year before, Dr Vardhan said, “ PM Narendra Modi has been personally involved in the management of the pandemic since the start. Today marks the culmination of five months’ hard work on rolling out the COVID vaccines.” The Prime Minister launched the COVID-19 vaccination drive at 10:30 am via video conferencing.

Dr Vardhan marvelled at the span and scope of the world’s largest COVID19 vaccination drive. “3,006 session sites across all States and UTs held the exercise simultaneously today with around 100 beneficiaries vaccinated at each of the sites. With a population of 138 crore and a history of Universal Immunisation Programme which involves targeted vaccination against twelve vaccine preventable diseases, India stands at the cusp of recording history and shows the way to peers across the globe. After Smallpox and Polio, it is the turn of COVID. All the remote, hard to reach areas, urban slums, tribal belts, were covered in today’s exercise.”

Dr Vardhan elaborated on the preparations that were taken up for this huge exercise:- “More than a lakh vaccinators were trained; multiple mock exercises were conducted; a pan-India national exercise was also conducted to hammer out the slightest glitches. Technology was used to bolster performance as the eVIN platform was repurposed to CoWIN (Winning over COVID), SMS sent to all beneficiaries for the last two days (for today’s session) which would be repeated on schedule for their second dose.”

The Health Minister added that efficient teamwork and staunch political commitment formed the bedrock of this massive exercise. “The Prime Minister and all the Chief Ministers along with my fellow colleague Health Ministers have worked as a team and made history today,” he said.

Dr Vardhan remembered the sacrifices made by the COVID Warriors who helped others putting their own lives at risk while defending the decision to give the vaccine first to healthcare workers in the private and public facilities alike. He also congratulated the common people of India who have enthusiastically contributed in the trials of the vaccine.

He also stressed on the need to counter the rumours and myth mongering in relation to administering of COVID19 vaccine. He also appealed people not to be misguided by the misinformation campaigns and believe only credible and authentic information. Dr Vardhan noted, “The whole country has been waiting for life to return to normal. People have lost their near and dear ones. These few people who are misleading others into questioning the integrity of the process are being unfair to the sacrifices made by the common people and the future of our society.”

Dr  Randeep Guleria, Director AIIMS, and Dr  V K  Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog and Chair, National Expert Group of Vaccine Administration for Covid-19 (NEGVAC) also received vaccination at AIIMS on January 16, 2021.

After the visit to AIIMS, New Delhi, the Union Health Minister visited the vaccination site at Gangaram Hospital, where he interacted with the healthcare and frontline workers and saluted their spirit of serving the nation.