NEW DELHI: Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan and his wife took the first dose of indigenously developed COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin at the Delhi Heart and Lung Institute on Tuesday.
India opened up vaccination for those over 60 years and within the age bracket of 45 to 59 years with specified co-morbidities from March 1.
The minister's wife Nutan Goel first took the jab after which Vardhan received the vaccine shot at the Delhi Heart and Lung Institute, which is a private facility.
They paid Rs 250 each for the vaccine jab.
Completing the observation period of half-and-hour after taking the first dose of the vaccine, Vardhan addressed the media and appealed to eligible people to get vaccinated.
"Today I and my wife took the first dose of Covid-19 vaccine at Delhi Heart and Lung Hospital around half-and-hour ago. The observation time of half-and-hour is completed. Hospital authorities have informed me that I and my wife have been given Covaxin. In the last half-and-hour, I and my wife did not face any kind of difficulty," he told reporters.
"On this occasion, I would like to urge all the citizens of this country whose age is above 60 or if they are in the age bracket of 45-59 having specified co-morbidities to take the vaccine," he said.
Stating that the Indian government has made the vaccine available for its citizens in thousands of private as well as government hospitals, Vardhan said that in the fight against COVID-19, this vaccine will act as a "sanjeevani" for the people.
"I and my wife paid Rs 250 each for our doses. I would like to appeal to people that those who can afford vaccine in our country can visit the nearest hospital and get the dose."
He asked the citizens to follow COVID-19-appropriate behaviour and stressed the need for observing vaccine-appropriate behaviour as well.
"I urge the citizens of this nation to get the first dose of vaccine and after 28 days of it, get the second dose of vaccine. If someone develops any kind of side effects or face difficulties, do not fear and inform your doctor," he said.
He told people not to have any doubts about the vaccine underlining no death has occurred till now due to the anti-coronavirus vaccination in the country.
Vardhan said that if any death occurs a few days after receiving the jab, it cannot be linked to vaccination because each such death is being scientifically probed.