NEW DELHI: Adar Poonawalla, whose Serum Institute of India (SII) manufactured the first lot of COVID-19 vaccines, was among those who got vaccinated on Saturday, as India kicked off world's largest immunisation campaign to bring the pandemic under control.
He wished the country and Prime Minister Narendra Modi success for the vaccination programme. As sanitation and healthcare workers around the country got the first inoculation, Poonawalla tweeted a short video of him getting the vaccine.
I wish India & Sri @narendramodi ji great success in launching the world’s largest COVID vaccination roll-out. It brings me great pride that #COVISHIELD is part of this historic effort & to endorse it’s safety & efficacy, I join our health workers in taking the vaccine myself. pic.twitter.com/X7sNxjQBN6— Adar Poonawalla (@adarpoonawalla) January 16, 2021
"I wish India & Sri @narendramodi ji great success in launching the world's largest COVID vaccination roll-out. It brings me great pride that #COVISHIELD is part of this historic effort & to endorse it's safety & efficacy, I join our health workers in taking the vaccine myself," Poonawalla tweeted.
SII manufactured Oxford University-AstraZeneca's vaccine Covishield, while Bharat Biotech developed the other vaccine Covaxin that is being administered in the inoculation drive. Over 3 lakh healthcare workers will be inoculated on the first day of the much-anticipated drive against coronavirus. The vaccination drive has been planned in a phased manner, identifying priority groups.
Healthcare workers, both in government and private sectors, including ICDS (Integrated Child Development Services) workers, will receive the vaccine during this phase, according to the health ministry.
Earlier in the day, the prime minister launched the vaccination programme covering the entire length and breadth of the country, and urged people to show patience during COVID-19 immunisation drive as they had shown till now in fighting the pandemic.
Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan described COVID-19 vaccines as "Sanjivani" in the fight against the infectious disease as he urged people not to pay heed to hearsay and instead believe in experts and scientists.
The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) had earlier this month approved Covishield and the indigenously developed Covaxin for restricted emergency use in the country. The government has already bought 1.1 crore doses of Covishield and 55 lakh doses of Covaxin.