A sanitation worker from Delhi -- Manish Kumar -- became the first person in India to receive the COVID-19 vaccine jab after Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the world's largest vaccination drive on Saturday via video conference.
A total of 3,006 vaccination centres across all states and union territories have been virtually connected and 100 beneficiaries are being given the shots at each site on the first day.
"Everyone was asking as to when the vaccine will be available. It is available now. I congratulate all the countrymen on this occasion," said PM Modi.
The world's biggest vaccination drive was kickstarted shortly after PM Modi's speech with the jab being administered to Manish Kumar in Delhi's AIIMS.
AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria receives #COVID19 vaccine shot at AIIMS, in New Delhi.— The New Indian Express (@NewIndianXpress) January 16, 2021
Express Video | @Shekharyadav02
#largestVaccinationdrive #COVID19Vaccine pic.twitter.com/VubP5KcACR
The PM added that bad times for corona have begun as we have two made-in-India vaccines now.
He reminded people of the country that two doses of the Corona vaccine are very important, citing experts.
The PM took the opportunity to warn the nation that the guard against Covid-19 must not be let down. I request you not to make the mistake of taking off the mask and not maintaining social distancing after getting the first dose because immunity develops after the second dose, the PM stressed.
Modi also harped on the fact that such a vaccination drive at such a massive scale was never conducted in history. There are over 100 countries having less than 3 crore population and India is administering vaccination to 3 crore people in the first phase only. In the second phase, we've to take this number to 30 crores, he noted.
Healthcare workers, both in the government and private sectors, are the first to get the shots.
The drive is being managed through CoWIN, short for Covid Vaccine Intelligence Network, an online platform meant to facilitate real-time information of vaccine stocks, storage temperature and individualised tracking of beneficiaries for Covid-19 vaccine.
The drive will be held daily from 9 am to 5 pm, except on the days earmarked for routine immunisation programmes.
Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan had on Friday termed the country's vaccination drive as the "beginning of the end of Covid-19." He had also urged people to trust the indigenously manufactured vaccine, saying the government has given emergency use approval after proper scientific scrutiny.
India's COVID-19 caseload climbed to 1,05,42,841 on Saturday with 15,158 more people testing positive for the disease while recoveries surged to 1,01,79,715, according to the Union health ministry data.
The country's death toll increased to 1,52,093 with 175 more fatalities, the data updated at 8 am showed.
The country's active caseload remained below 3 lakh on Saturday.
(With agencies inputs)