With nearly one million health workers getting the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will Friday speak with some of these beneficiaries on their inoculation experience in order to boost confidence among the people.
“The world’s largest vaccination drive is underway in India. Our frontline warriors are getting vaccinated across the nation. At 1:15 PM tomorrow, 22nd January, I would interact with beneficiaries and vaccinators of Covid vaccination drive in Varanasi, via video conferencing,” Prime Minister Modi tweeted.
Sources in the PMO indicated that as another step towards creating vaccine confidence, the Prime Minister and other elected representatives will likely take the vaccine in the second phase, when the priority group above the age of 50 will be inoculated.
“The PM also is likely to take the vaccine. In the first phase, it was meant for health workers and frontline workers. Now, it will not be out of turn for political leaders,” said a source.
The Union Health Ministry Thursday said the cumulative number of vaccinated healthcare workers had touched 9,99,065 till 6 pm. The Prime Minister said the virtual interaction “would give first-hand opportunity to hear their experiences as well as feedback” on vaccination.
“The interaction follows continuous dialogue and discussion by the Prime Minister with scientists, political leaders, officials and other stakeholders to proactively ensure smooth conduct of the world’s largest vaccination drive,” the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement.
On the demand by several states, including BJP-ruled Bihar, that elected representatives be included in the first priority group, Modi during his interaction with Chief Ministers had earlier said: “…This is my personal suggestion. First are the corona warriors, second are frontline workers. The people’s representatives are not included in this category.”
The Health Ministry said that on Thursday, 4,041 vaccination sessions were conducted across the country and 1,92,581 beneficiaries were vaccinated till 6 pm. “187 Adverse Events Following Immunization (AEFIs) have been reported till 6 pm on the sixth day of the vaccination drive,” the ministry said.
The Health Ministry said one hospitalisation following immunization has been reported from Rajasthan—however, the event was “not related to vaccination”. The beneficiary was vaccinated on January 16 and four days later suffered from intracranial hemorrhage and was admitted to an Udaipur hospital.
On Thursday, Odisha (26,558), Telangana (26,441), Karnataka (16,103) and Bihar (15,798) recorded the maximum vaccinations in the country.
Meanwhile, on Thursday, the Health Ministry unveiled an “Information, Education and Communication” campaign to address vaccine hesitancy and misinformation. “Let us put a stop to these falsehoods…All eminent doctors of well-known hospitals have taken the vaccine and praised the exercise for its desired end,” Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare, said during the launch. “..The paradox is that countries across the globe are asking us for access to the vaccines while a section of our own is fomenting misinformation…,” Vardhan said while urging everyone to seek correct information from credible and authentic sources.