NEW DELHI: Amid controversy over Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin, Prime Minister Narendra Modi emphasised that people should not fall for propaganda as he launched the vaccination drive to safeguard India’s population from Covid-19. Addressing the nation before the launch at 10.30 am, the PM urged citizens to stay vigilant and maintain all precautions against SARS CoV-2, including masks and distancing, even after getting the shots. Addressing concerns over Covaxin, he said, “The DGCI gave approval after they were satisfied with the data of the two vaccines. So, stay away from rumours.”
He added that Indian vaccine developers had global credibility and pointed out that life-saving vaccines given to 60% children globally are made in India. He also underlined that Indian vaccines were cheaper compared to the other global vaccines which required stringent conditions for storage. “India’s vaccines are developed in a way keeping in mind the conditions of the country.
They will give a decisive victory to our country,” Modi added. Mentioning the difficult times during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic, Modi at one point choked up as he spoke about people who could not perform the last rites of their loved ones, those who were separated from their families and the elderly who died in isolation. “Today when we take a look at the last year, we realise that we have learnt a lot as individuals, family and nation. I want to remember those days when the disease kept people away from their families. Mothers wept for their children but couldn’t hold them.
Old fathers fought the disease alone in hospitals; their children could not help them. We could perform rituals for those who died due to corona,” said the PM. Striking an emotional chord, he referred to the sacrifices made by healthcare and frontline workers, hundreds of whom have lost their lives over the last several months “In times of that crisis and atmosphere of despair, some were giving us hope.
They were putting themselves at risk to save us — doctors, nurses, paramedics, ambulance drivers, sanitation workers, police and other frontline workers — they prioritised their duty to humanity,” he said. “They stayed away from their families and children; they stayed away from home for days... Hundreds never returned home. They sacrificed their lives to save lives. So today, by vaccinating healthcare workers first, society is paying their debt,” said the PM.